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Figures reveal sharp decline in social care workforce

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Staffing levels in council adult social care departments fell by nearly a third in five years, according to latest figures.

Last September there were 112,800 local authority adult social care jobs in England, representing a fall of 46,600 (29%) since 2011, reveal the figures, which were published yesterday by NHS Digital. Staffing levels in the independent sector increased by 160,000 jobs during the same period.

“This significant fall in staff numbers is unsurprising”

Margaret Willcox

NHS Digital’s report said the reasons councils most frequently cited for the decrease were service closures, restructuring, and budget cuts. The number of posts in direct care, the largest staffing group, fell by 49% to 50,800, while management roles decreased from 22,700 to 17,200.

Staff directly employed by councils represent 8% of the total social care workforce, with 78% working in the independent sector, 6% in the NHS and 9% as a result of people receiving direct payments.

In 2016 the starter rate, which equates to the number of new staff employed in social care as a percentage of overall number of council employees, was 13%. This compares to a turnover rate of 19%.

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services/ADASS

Figures reveal sharp decline in social care workforce

Margaret Willcox

Margaret Willcox, president elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, highlighted that councils were projecting a combined adult social care overspend of £441m in 2016-17, following the cutting of £5.5bn from their social care budgets since 2010.

“Despite these huge pressures, councils have sought to protect frontline social workers while seeking efficiency in management and outsourcing direct care provision,” she said.

Ms Willcox added: “Care staff and social workers are pulling out all the stops to provide personal and dignified care to those who need it, with the report showing that nearly half (44%) of adult social care workers had no days off sick in a year.

“This significant fall in staff numbers is unsurprising and is due to the social care funding crisis which is failing to tackle the growing demand within local communities for care of people living longer and with increasingly complex needs,” she said.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • So a more accurate headline would be "Figures reveal sharp INCREASE in social care workforce". Gone up by 113,400 over the period if your figures are to be believed.
    A headline pointing out the reduction in the directly LA employed workforce would be perfectly reasonable, but why try to mislead us like this?

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