This week is Professional Care Workers’ Week and we’d like to say a massive thank you to all care workers everywhere.
Care is a highly skilled profession, but on the whole care workers do not get the advantages of being seen as professionals. The fragmented system of adult social care means that care work is more often associated with low pay, inconsistent training, agency workers and high turnover.
The latest annual Skills for Care workforce analysis found there were 165,000 vacant care roles, a rise of 52% on the previous year.
Local Solutions – a charity launched back in 1974 that delivers services to support individuals, families and communities across the Liverpool City Region and North Wales – employs a total of 480 staff members, including 350 social care workers who provide direct support for vulnerable people in their own homes.
The demand for social care staff continues to rise in line with the UK’s ageing population.
The Department of Health and Social Care said there were currently 13,000 people in hospital who should be receiving care in the community. Across the UK the average care worker pay is £1 per hour less than healthcare assistants in the NHS that are new to role.
Against this backdrop, Local Solutions took the bold step of electing to become a Real Living Wage payer and by October 2023 will have raised frontline wages by almost £2 in an 18 month period.
The increasing number of social care employers gaining real Living Wage accreditation is a sign of the great progress made in the payment of the real Living Wage in the sector within the last year.
However, for now, there are still thousands of workers in the wider social services sector across the United Kingdom who continue to earn below the real Living Wage.
For us, Professional Care Workers’ Week is an opportunity to shine a light on the work across social care sector, raise the profile of care workers in the UK and explore some of the issues faced by the workforce, as well as those faced by the sector as a whole.