Adult social care workforce 

The adult social care (ASC) workforce, comprising over 1.5 million people, undertakes vitally important work that supports individuals and families in our society and promotes strong and inclusive communities. 


People with care and support needs should receive personalised and high-quality services to enable them to enjoy fulfilled lives in their own homes and communities. Consistent care should be available to all, irrespective of age, location, or circumstance.  

High quality care and support services are dependent upon a highly skilled and valued workforce, appropriately rewarded for their work and the vital impact that it has on people’s lives.  

The term workforce includes: 

  • employees working in statutory organisations with responsibility for ASC functions
  • those commissioned by councils and employed by care providers or through agencies to deliver care and support
  • those people employed via a direct payment i.e. personal assistants
  • care staff employed as part of any integrated arrangements with health.

While not part of the paid workforce, we also recognise the invaluable role that informal and unpaid carers and volunteers play in supporting people to live the lives that they want to live in their own homes.  

Social care is a major employer, contributing £40.5 billion annually to the national economy, making it a key driving force for reform and transformation. 

Recently the LGA and ADASS have been working with Adult Social Care leaders from the Care Provider Alliance (CPA), Care and Support Alliance (CSA), Skills for Care, Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Think Local Act Personal (TLAP), employers, workers, inspectors and commissioners to offer a collective vision of what should be in a workforce strategy for the growing sector.

The leaders group believe that to build and develop a workforce which makes this vision a reality there are clear priorities which must be included in a national workforce strategy/people plan for adult social care. These priorities build on the improvement priorities that LGA, ADASS and Skills for Care have been working on with the sector over the past two years, following extensive engagement with councils, providers, partners and people with lived experience.  

  • Strategic workforce planning
  • Growing and developing the workforce
  • Enhancing the use of technology
  • Supporting wellbeing and positive mental health 
  • Building and enhancing social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in the workforce 
Strategic workforce planning

Councils, working with providers and other partners, need to anticipate and respond effectively to the changing health and care needs of the population over time. A local workforce plan sets a direction of travel for an area, supporting places to develop new models of care and recognising that adult social care can be a key enabler to recovery by offering quality jobs with good opportunities. A workforce plan will be underpinned by credible data and intelligence that is used to drive delivery strategies and will crucially be informed by those with experience of using services. 

Skills for Care ASC workforce data set 

Growing and developing the workforce 

If care and support continue to be delivered in the same way, workforce projections suggest that there would need to be a 32 per cent (520,000) increase in social care jobs to 2.17 million by 2035. In the current climate of high turnover of staff and vacancies, this is unrealistic.  We must reset the system to deliver care and support in a different way.  But to achieve this, we must improve the conditions and opportunities for the workforce to create rewarding and valued roles. In addition, we must improve the support to the wealth of unpaid carers and volunteers who provide invaluable support to the health and care system. 

Take a look at Inspired to Care’s largest ever recruitment marketing campaign for adult social care in Leicestershire.

Enhancing the use of technology

Technology cannot replace what we value most about our workforce. However, the development of new digital solutions and the adoption of technology at scale can help to address workforce challenges and improve workforce capacity.  We see technology and better working practices as a key enabler to developing a more modern and agile workforce, meeting care and support needs in more efficient and effective ways and improving outcomes for those we seek to support. 

Supporting wellbeing and positive mental health 

Efforts to support wellbeing should not just be seen as a short-term response to COVID-19, but a sustained commitment to tackle long-term drivers of poor staff experience, health and wellbeing. Social care employers and managers need to have access to tools that can support and enhance the mental health and wellbeing of themselves and their staff, both now and in the future. 

Read more about supporting wellbeing and positive mental health:

Warrington Wellbeing and Happy? Ok? Sad? Warrington Borough Council

Warrington Borough Council set up Warrington Wellbeing, a web page managed by their Wellbeing team, who are on hand to provide those wanting to improve their physical and or mental wellbeing with one to one support, advice and guidance. This includes low level mental health support. The page contains a number of useful resources, such as helplines numbers, including a local 24/7 mental health crisis line.

Warrington has also set up the webpage happyoksad.org.uk. The site is split into four sections to make it easier for visitors to find relevant resources based on whether they are children/young people, adults, older people, or frontline workers. The site provides resources for specific groups, such as new parents, LGBTQ people, men and veterans and also for specific situations, for example supporting mental wellbeing following a flood and the provision of telephone friendship services for older people suffering from feelings of isolation following lockdown. Happy? Ok? Sad? has been developed for people who live or work in Warrington so some of the services and resources available are for local use, however the page also links to national resources and sites as well.

For more information about Happy? Ok? Sad? or Warrington Wellbeing, please contact warringtonwellbeing@warrington.gov.uk

Building and enhancing social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in the workforce

Addressing inequalities within the system that adversely impact upon specific groups in the workforce, including people with disabilities, women and people from BAME communities, should be at the heart of any future workforce strategy. The entire social care workforce must strive for equality of outcomes, focusing on freedom, independence, safeguarding, prevention and on good advice, so that we are able to support good lives, and give dignity and respect.