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.

Annex A: The social services workforce – additional detail

Information in this annex is largely derived from the Scottish Social Service Sector: Report on 2016 Workforce Data ( SSSC), except where otherwise referenced.

The workforce in adult social services

112. Approximately 70% of the total workforce works in adult social services. The majority of workers in the adult social services subsector provide care at home/housing support services or work in care homes and are employed in over 3,000 different registered services.

  • 68,970 people work in care at home/housing support
  • 53,680 people work in care homes for adults
  • 7,780 people work in adult day care
  • 7,350 people work in fieldwork services that are for adults or are generic. 2232 of these are social workers, while 543 are occupational therapists
  • 2,400 people work in nurse agencies.

Care homes and care at home services

113. Independent sector service providers employ nearly half of the workforce in care at home/housing support [38] and care homes. However these two subsectors differ in their patterns of employment and in how they are changing.

114. Nearly three quarters of the workforce in care homes is employed in the independent sector, with 16% employed in the third sector. The numbers employed in care homes have fallen slightly since 2008 with a small shift in employment towards the independent sector (up 4%). Over this period there has also been a small fall in care home places (down 3.6% from 2008-2016) and similar falls (down 3%) in the number of adults in care homes [39] .

115. Nearly one half (46%) of the workforce delivering care at home/housing support services is employed in the third sector, with 30% employed in the independent sector. The numbers employed in care at home/housing support services have increased by 9.2% since 2008, with a shift in employment pattern from the public sector (12% drop), largely to the independent sector (9% increase).

116. It is not possible to determine the reasons for changes in workforce numbers in care homes and care at home/housing support with certainty, in part as they may be affected by changes in work patterns. However, it could be interpreted that the trends are consistent with changes in health and social care priorities, with an increased emphasis on providing care in settings appropriate to individual needs, in particular increasing care provision at home or in a homely setting.

117. Official statistics covering the workforce providing adult social care do not include personal assistants. These are in the main employed directly by users of services who have chosen Self-directed Support, option 1 [40] . While the numbers cannot be estimated with certainty, they are likely to have increased substantially in recent years, as uptake of option 1 has expanded.

The workforce in children’s social services

118. Approximately 28% of the total workforce works in children’s social services. Due to the proposed expansion of early learning and childcare and the current focus on this area, this workforce is not considered further in this document. Within the remainder of this sector:

  • 7, 680 people work in residential childcare.
  • 7,750 people work in fieldwork services that are for children or are generic. 3,124 of these are social workers [41] .
  • 1,420 people work in fostering or adoption services (not including foster or adoptive parents).

119. The third and public sectors play the major part in provision of these children’s services. Residential child care services are provided by a mix of public, third and independent sectors, which employ 30%, 41% and 29% of the workforce respectively. For fostering and adoption services, the workforce is 58% public sector and 42% third sector. All fieldwork services for children are provided by the public sector.

120. Workforce numbers in these children’s services have increased overall by about 8% between 2008 and 2016 [42] .

The workforce in offender services

Services for offenders include offender fieldwork services and offender accommodation [43] . The size of this workforce in 2016 was 2050, and this has fallen slightly overall since 2008 (by 1.4%).



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