Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
The National Audit Office (NAO) has warned that a lack of planning and funding has undermined the care sector to the extent that it can no longer fill key posts.
Its report, The adult social care workforce in England, claims that the Department of Health and Social Care is not doing enough to support a sustainable social care workforce as the number of people working in care is not meeting the country’s growing care demands.
There are around 1.34 million jobs in the adult social care sector in England, across more than 20,300 organisations, but the turnover rate of care staff has been increasing since 2012-13 and in 2016-17 reached 27.8 per cent. One in 11 nursing posts was vacant, after the numbers working in the sector fell by 8,000 to 43,000 in the past four years.
Furthermore, the vacancy rate in 2016-17 for jobs across social care was 6.6 per cent, much higher than the national average of 2.5 per cent. In terms of wages, approximately half of care workers were paid £7.50 per hour or below last year, which translates roughly to £14,625 annually.
The problem is exasperated by the figures which show that local authorities spent 5.3 per cent less on care in 2016-17 compared with 2010-11, with spending expected to reduce further over the next two years due to continued government funding cuts and increased financial pressures on local authorities.
Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “Social care cannot continue as a Cinderella service – without a valued and rewarded workforce, adult social care cannot fulfil its crucial role of supporting elderly and vulnerable people in society. Pressures and demands on the health and social care systems are increasing, so the Department needs to respond quickly to this challenge by giving the sector the attention it deserves and needs, instead of falling short and not delivering value for money.”
The government intends to publish a green paper on reforming care for older people by summer 2018.
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