Resetting the relationship between local and national government. Read our Local Government White Paper

LGA submission to DHSC’s consultation on the Care Workforce Pathway, May 2023

The LGA can see the potential benefits of the Care Workforce Pathway for adult social care but, in order to realise them, consideration must be given to the issues raised below. By working together to address these issues, we are hopeful that the pathway can be a success and deliver some of the changes that are needed to bolster this critical workforce.

View allAdult social care articles

About the LGA

  • The Local Government Association (LGA) is the national voice of local government. We are a politically led, cross-party membership organisation, representing councils from England and Wales.

  • Our role is to support, promote and improve local government, and raise national awareness of the work of councils. Our ultimate ambition is to support councils to deliver local solutions to national problems.


  • The LGA can see the potential benefits of the pathway but, in order to realise them, consideration must be given to the issues raised below. By working together to address these issues, we are hopeful that the pathway can be a success and deliver some of the changes that are needed to bolster this critical workforce.

  • Making a career pathway framework that can be adopted locally by employers of care workers is a sensible approach, rather than making it mandatory.

  • The LGA is concerned that the career framework’s focus on stages and pathways and progression implies recognition, expectations and vacancies available to progress into and appears to place obligations on employers to be focusing on delivering opportunities for development and career advancement that might set unrealistic expectations for employees.

  • On the issue of training and development, the LGA understands that many care workers currently have to undertake training and development in their own time. This should not be taken as one of the pre-requisites for career progression.

Making the care workforce pathway for adult social care a success

  • The LGA agrees that it is useful to have a national framework showing routes into and through a social care career. We understand this is for care workers and will eventually link into the pathways for the wider sector (occupational therapists, social workers and so on) but would recommend thinking wider than that and looking at other roles that support the care sector (roles in commissioning, human resources, training and so on). There is a diversity of roles across the sector, and we would encourage the pathway to reflect this.

  • The framework needs the will and efforts of employers to make it work and there’s not enough focus on the benefits for employers (for example, helping to recruit the right skills and values and behaviours and using it to guide what good practice is in the job that needs doing, not just the next job). The success of competency-type schemes and career pathways relies on managers adopting and promoting them. There needs to be more work on how the framework works for employers. The LGA encourages more focus on the framework’s role in helping to manage good performance and how the framework will support good care/service delivery as it sets the standard of what good looks like in each job.

  • As the majority of the social care workforce is employed by provider organisations, the LGA urges engagement with these organisations in the development of the framework, particularly as this early pathway work is focusing on care workers. Some of the medium and larger providers have well developed local career pathways in which learning can be drawn from in developing any national pathways. Any national work should link in and support local pathways, otherwise providers may not engage with it. The LGA is also keen to promote apprenticeships in social care. We would like to see how they fit in to these pathways and what the range of apprenticeship options might be.

  • As well as engagement with providers, engaging with people who draw on care and support would also be beneficial in order to develop good alignment between the needs of both the workforce and those they support.

  • The LGA supports the development of the framework as part of the move to give recognition and professional status to care workers. However, this will have limited success if career progression is not linked to pay progression and how this can be funded for this sector. We are aware of/participating in two similar care worker pay review research pieces (led by Nuffield Health and the University of Manchester), which appear to have involvement by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and would be interested to hear how these reviews will inform the career pathway.

  • One of the main barriers to training and career progression generally for this sector is that the majority of staff have to train in their own time and not in paid working time. Even if the care worker could do this training in work time, the employer needs to back fill the work that is being missed. For an employer to want to absorb extra costs (either in paying for training or paying for time for training) there will need to be obvious benefits for employers from the framework or possibly some additional funding. 

  • The LGA is interested to understand how the career pathway will engage staff recruited from overseas. The Government has paid grants to regional adult social services teams to undertake international recruitment and recruit people from abroad on special visas, but there is an issue that workers on visas need three years residency to qualify for funding for training.

  • The LGA is concerned that the training infrastructure required to meet the requirements of the pathway is not in place. There needs to be an exercise to map education and training to help employers and employees use the framework.

  • Engaging and promoting the career pathway to volunteers as well as the current paid workforce may also help in terms of any volunteers seeing social care as a paid career opportunity.


Arian Nemati, Public Affairs and Campaigns Adviser

Email: [email protected]