Engage: The social care sector is a precious resource and contributes billions to Welsh economy
Most people who rely on social care workers to safeguard or support them will know the valuable contribution they make every day.
The sector works in every part of Wales, providing care and support through a range of independent, voluntary and statutory partners, to help people live the lives that matter to them.
Social Care Wales recently published a new report, looking at the economic impact of the sector. The report focuses on adult social care, which contributes £2.2 billion to the Welsh economy.
Around 83,400 people work in adult social care, which makes it the seventh biggest employment sector in terms of the number of jobs in Wales and equates to six per cent of the total workforce.
The private sector is the biggest employer of those who work in regulated settings, employing 44,500 people. The public sector employs 16,000 people and the voluntary sector 11,700.
Adult social care directly contributes £1.2 billion to the Welsh economy, which is higher than the agriculture, forestry and fishing; arts, entertainment and recreation; and water supply, sewerage and waste management sectors.
The report also highlights the wider impact of adult social care on the economy, which increases its estimated value to £2.2 billion and creates 127,000 jobs.
The average adult social care worker earns £16,900 in Wales – higher than the National Living Wage.
And the sector as a whole (which includes children’s and adults’ services) employs 90,520 people, which is higher than the NHS, which employs 88,900 people.
These findings highlight the positive impact of the sector on the economy, and shows the significant value and contribution of social care in Wales.
We know that effective community-based social care helps people remain safe at home, which is where they want to live, even when they have complex health conditions.
This helps reduce demand on more acute and expensive NHS and social care services, so that others with acute needs can access the help they need.
As the regulator for the social care workforce, we are supporting practitioners to gain the knowledge and skills they require to meet people’s social care needs.
This is a journey of continuous improvement, with qualifications supplemented by ongoing learning and training about new policy and practice.
We recently opened our register, on an informal basis, to domiciliary care workers and they will all need to be registered with us by 2020. Following this, we will open the register to adult care home workers, who will need to be registered by 2022.
We are currently supporting employers to help their teams prepare for registration. Registration forms part of our regulatory functions, which aim to maintain and improve excellent practice that is evident across Wales.
Social Care Wales is committed to leading and supporting improvement of social care services in Wales, and works with professionals and a range of organisations to make this a reality.
We are supporting the Welsh Government with its evaluation of the impact of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 by being part of the Measuring the Mountain project.
If you have a story to tell about your experience of social care in Wales, please get involved with the project.
You may also be interested in becoming a citizen juror, which will look at the evidence from the collected stories at an event taking place in September in Swansea.
- You can find details about how to get involved in Measuring the Mountain or becoming a citizen juror at www.mtm.wales.
- Our board meets every two months and members of the public are welcome to attend. If you’re interested in attending, you can find details of forthcoming meetings here.
About the Author
Sue Evans is the Chief Executive of Social Care Wales. Sue’s background encompassses roles with responsibility for planning, commissioning and operational delivery of a wide range of health, social care and housing services. This includes roles as Statutory Director of Social Services with Torfaen County Borough Council as well President of the Association of Directors of Social Services, Cymru (ADSSC) in 2015.
Sue was writing on Social Care Wales’ news pages which you can follow here: https://socialcare.wales/news