Call For “One Stop Shop” System Of Workforce Development Funding
Donald Hoodless, chair of the national adult social care workforce development body Skills for Care, has made a hard-hitting call for a “one stop shop” system of social care workforce development funding through the Sector Skills Council.
Speaking at the annual Skills for Care conference held this week at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham, he warned that because Local Authority Training Strategy and Human Resource Development grants from the Department of Health, totalling more than £146m were not ring fenced cash was not getting through to the voluntary, independent and private sectors as it should.
Donald Hoodless told the audience at the Partnerships Work event that the sectors were missing out on millions of pounds. And he stressed: “The evidence is clear, that last year alone local authorities only spent only £16.5m on the social care sector, an average of £360,000 per authority and this plainly is not a system that should continue. It is not fair, accessible or equitable.
“We are not blaming local authorities which have their own workforce to train and services to provide, and are hard strapped for cash but there is no doubt at all that the current system is not working and action needs to be taken to deliver a better way of funding.”
He also said that the Train to Gain Learning and Skills Council brokerage was an unnecessary hurdle for employers to jump over and pointed out that: “In our South East region, Skills for Care employers are directly delivering the Train to Gain programme without the added layer of generic brokerage by the Learning Skills Council and this in itself is proof enough that a smoother `one stop shop` system can work.”
Giving an outline of highly successful projects launched by the organisation, Donald Hoodless said that the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care, recently supported by David Behan, Director General of Social Care for the Department of Health was exciting – and he thanked the thousands of employers who have come forward so far to provide information. Facts and figures will be analysed in a far-reaching on-line national social care “stocktaking” initiative – the first of its kind in the country.
And with partnership high on the agenda, he praised initiatives like the £15m. Training Strategy Initiative that has been driven successfully by Skills for Care contracted lead employer partners across the country, and welcomed Specialist Diploma partnerships, which will involve working with schools to deliver a new generation of potential employees of the future.
Andrea Rowe, Skills for Care Chief Executive Officer, told the audience that the two-day conference’s exploration of the values and principles of partnership and best practice would be reinforced and developed by the organisation’s nine regions.