It is one of the privileges of being Chief Social Worker for Adults that my professional colleagues and I can offer our advice, insight and guidance to inform major social care initiatives in England. The People at the Heart of Care white paper, published in 2021, set out the Government’s vision for adult social care. Now, with the publication of Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care, we’re helping to refine and strengthen that vision.
Thank you for your insight, but social care is so much more than social work and social workers, even though this area is so important. Care workers who provide the care to persons in need of care are so important also and in many respects more so.
They too are far from recognised for the work they do and the responsibilities they undertake. The insufficiency of care workers could well be much greater than the insufficiency of social workers and neither receive the recognition they so greatly deserve.
I say care workers are more so, for without these workers social care can’t be delivered and they are one of the poorest paid in the UK, but undertake considerable responsibilities for which they are not anywhere near enough remunerated for. £11.00 per hour is way insufficient and should be more like £14/15 and their working conditions considerably improved, for many don’t have as many paid bank holidays as most UK workers have.
Travel expenses are few and far and many others. The roles of care workers have to be considerably improved and be recognised for the skilled profession it surely is for it is far from being unskilled, if the care is provided as it should be.
The government promises to review social care, but before this can be done the government needs to understand what social care is and in that it is much more than the care for the elderly and care homes, for in includes both children and adults in home care, supported living and others.
Many persons in need of care are not receiving any or way too little due to the severe lack of funding for social care and the underrepresentation of care workers.
The government feel half a £million or £1 million is sufficient when it is £billions required. The King’s Fund say £7 billion, while £12 is more realistic. But that is required now and not in a year or two time and not just now, but sustained for years to come.
Without this immediate and sustained funding social care will to all purposes disappear and the NHS soon after, as both are doing so currently.
We need a listening government, but I can’t see one coming, so the future looks so bleak.
Source: Next steps for social care reform and the voice of adult social work – Social work with adults