National health and social care workforce plan: part two

Part two of the plan will enable different workforce planning systems to move towards improved planning in social care.

Chapter 1: Executive Summary

1. This document, jointly agreed by COSLA and Scottish Government is Part 2 of the 2017/18 National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, for Social Care in Scotland. Part 1 was published in June 2017; Part 3 will be published in early 2018. Work arising from the recommendations in the three parts of this plan aims to enable the production of a combined Health and Social Care Workforce Plan in 2018.

2. The purpose of each part is to support organisations that provide health and social care services to identify, develop and put in place the workforce they need to deliver safe and sustainable high-quality services to Scotland’s people. The iterative process being undertaken aims to enable the many organisations involved in commissioning, delivering and supporting services to work together over time to help deliver a whole system approach to workforce planning for health and social care.

3. Part 2 acknowledges some of the distinct challenges for workforce planning in the social care sector. These include the complexity of service provision and commissioning; the ramifications of the dominant market dynamic; the distinct challenges within rural and urban areas; the current financial environment and resource constraints; the substantial changes taking place in service delivery; and the impacts of social and technological change on demand for services and on workforce skill requirements and supply. It outlines specific areas within this context that have been identified as initial priorities for action, including the need to improve the evidence base for workforce planning, the need to further engage partners across the sector in planning activity and the need for workforce planning tools that are developed with the sector, for the sector. This document also highlights a number of existing workforce challenges that are priorities for action now, including recruitment and retention, improved opportunities for career progression and addressing skill needs through improvement to training and education.

Key Recommendations

4. The following recommendations arise from engagement between Scottish Government, COSLA and other key partners involved in the delivery of social care in Scotland. They build on the development of Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan – a framework for improving workforce planning across NHS Scotland.

5. Delivery of these recommendations and improved national and local workforce planning across the health and social care sector can only be delivered through extensive partnership working across these sectors. For the recommendations in Part 2, this means, in particular, working with the organisations that commission and provide services and/or their representative bodies. Turning these initial priorities into action requires engagement between the Scottish Government, COSLA, Scottish Social Services Council ( SSSC), Care Inspectorate, Integration Joint Boards ( IJBs) and other key partners and stakeholders including, critically, employers in the third and independent sectors. The National Workforce Planning Group established under Part 1 of this Workforce Plan will play a role as a key vehicle for engagement with many of these partners.

6. The seven recommendations aim to begin a process that will improve national and local workforce planning for social care in Scotland to help ensure we get the right people into the right place, at the right time, to deliver sustainable and high-quality services with improved outcomes for those who use them.

Data, analysis, tools and guidance to support workforce planning

Recommendation 1: Integrated workforce data

  • To enable better collation of health and social care workforce data to support national and local workforce planning. This will draw on the work of the Scottish Social Services Council and the Care Inspectorate and take place in alignment with the work being led by NHS Education for Scotland on the NHS Scotland workforce in response to Part 1 of the Plan. The work will contribute to the wider, whole system approach required for health and social care in the future.

Recommendation 2: National and local labour market and workforce analysis

  • To develop our understanding and provide evidence of the interactions between the national and local labour market pressures, the interactions between different parts of the sector and the specific challenges presented by the configuration and location of the current social care workforce.

Recommendation 3: Workforce planning guidance for partnership working

  • To develop guidance for Integration Joint Boards and their commissioning partners in local authorities and NHS boards that supports partnership working for the formulation of workforce plans at regional and local level that include consideration of the third and independent sector workforce. This work will aim to:
    • engage with third and independent sector employers and/or their representative organisations, and trade unions;
    • support and facilitate alignment of local workforce plans with associated commissioning and financial plans;
    • make use of the work delivered under recommendation 2 above, to develop improved understanding and awareness of the impact of market mechanisms in social care;
    • develop approaches through which workforce planning can take these mechanisms into account in contributing to the delivery of improved outcomes for those who use services.

Recommendation 4: Workforce planning tools

  • To progress and co-produce social care and multi-disciplinary workforce planning tools that support the delivery of high quality care that reflects the new health and social care standards, and enable service redesign and new models of care. In developing this work, we will take account of progress with planned Scottish Government legislation that includes a focus on tools and methodology to inform and support workforce planning, starting with nursing and midwifery in the NHS.

Recruitment, training and careers

Recommendation 5: Promoting social care and social care settings more widely as a positive career choice

  • To deliver a national campaign to promote the social care profession as a meaningful, valued and rewarding career choice and social care as an employment area of choice for a range of professionals. In developing the campaign, we will engage with employers, including those in the third and independent sectors and/or their representative organisations and trade unions. The campaign will:
    • be targeted at the potential, current and future workforce;
    • be targeted at new entrants to the sector at any age, career changers and those returning to work;
    • aim to support improved recruitment and retention within the sector;
    • aim to increase the appeal of the social care sector to nurses and other health-related professionals;
    • reinforce social care as a career in itself as well as highlighting possible pathways between different areas of work.

Recommendation 6: Career pathways

  • To develop proposals for enhanced career pathways within social care, recognising the context of the developing multidisciplinary, integrated workforce environment. The third and independent sectors, as employers of the great majority of the social care workforce, will be essential partners in this work. Consideration will be given to:
    • improving entry routes and pathways into the sector, recognising current progress and initiatives such as Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships;
    • exploring how career pathways between health and social care can be further developed;
    • work being developed under Part 1 of the National Workforce Plan, such as a review of learner and student support across the health and social care workforce and promotion of careers in schools.
  • To work with workforce and service regulators to ensure they are empowered to enable and support recruitment, career progression and flexibility in the workforce of the future, including through categories of registration.

Recommendation 7: Training and education

  • To develop training and education proposals that will better enable a flexible, confident and competent workforce with relevant and appropriate qualifications.
  • To develop a professional framework for practice in social care and social work, including in advanced practice. This work will take into consideration:
    • the national qualification structure of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework ( SCQF);
    • the recent Review of Social Work Education;
    • work in progress to support the workforce in implementing the new Health and Social Care Standards.



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