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Developing a new and comprehensive workforce strategy for adult social care.

Ƶ announced plans to lead the development of a new and comprehensive workforce strategy for adult social care on 12 October 2023.

The strategy identifies the adult social care workforce needs over the next 15 years and set out a plan for ensuring the sector has enough of the right people with the right skills.

A key focus in the Workforce Strategy is pay. We’ve modelled three options for improving this which are:

  • increasing compliance with the National Living Wage and paying for travel time
  • minimum wage for care workers in line with the Real Living Wage, or 1 or 2 pounds above the National living wage
  • matching NHS pay band 3, including an uplift for staff with more than two years’ experience.

There are many other things that we can do to address the challenges in adult social care, but we need concerted and joined-up action between national and local government, Integrated Care Systems, employers and people drawing on care and support to attract and keep the right people with the right skills.

The strategy will be launched on 18 July 2024.

Key issues that sector stakeholders hope the ‘Workforce strategy for adult social care’ will address

We worked with The King’s Fund to produce a report on workforce expectations for a strategy for adult social care. This analysis has fed into the workforce strategy development.

This report involved an analysis of policy and literature which provide a key insight into what people working in adult social care want and need from a workforce strategy.

The key workforce themes which arose were around:

  • pay and conditions
  • training
  • career development
  • regulation and registration
  • equality, diversity and inclusion
  • mental and physical health
  • leadership and management.

Read the report


How the strategy is being developed

To drive meaningful, sustained progress the development of the workforce strategy was a fully collaborative effort, drawing on the many organisations and people that have a stake in our sectors future.

The workforce strategy Steering Group, brings together senior stakeholders and representatives from across adult social care and adjacent sectors, including health and education. The Steering Group represents the interests of people drawing on social care, families, social care staff, provider organisations, commissioners, suppliers (in its broadest sense) and innovators. Steering Group members advise on the development of the strategy and support its implementation. Oonagh Smyth, CEO of Ƶ and Sir David Pearson co-chair the steering group

Steering group members:

  • President of Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)
  • DHSC Chief Social Care Nurse
  • DHSC Chief Social Worker (now retired)
  • Interim Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care and Integrated Care, Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  • Group Non-executive Director and Chairs the Workforce, Training and Education Committee, NHS England (NHSE)
  • Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation
  • Senior Policy Manager for Adult Learning, Association of Colleges
  • Director of Policy, Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)
  • Care Provider Alliance
  • CEO, British Association of Social Workers (BASW)
  • CEO, Social Work England
  • CEO, Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT)
  • Deputy Chief Nurse, Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • CEO, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Assistant Director of Nursing Programmes, Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI)
  • Co-chair, Care Association Alliance and care provider
  • CEO, Care Workers’ Charity
  • Co-convener, Social Care Future
  • Chair, Think Local Act Personal (TLAP)
  • Director, Local Government Association (LGA) – Partners in Care and Health (PCH)
  • CEO, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB)
  • Chief People Officer for two ICBs in the East Midlands
  • Director Adult Social Care Improvement, Partners in Care and Health
  • Director of Workforce, Integrated Care System (ICS) for Devon
  • CEO, West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (ICB)
  • Senior National Officer for Social Care, UNISON (representing unions)
  • Senior representative, Council of Deans of Health
  • Trustee, Ƶ Board
  • Director, Alzheimer’s Society

Expert working groups

These groups came together around a specific area of focus and bring together provider representatives, people drawing on care and support, and other stakeholders (such as care associations), health, housing and other specialists. They worked quickly using a evidence base to identify challenges and make recommendations as to how these can be resolved. To do this, members of these groups spoke to their own networks and contacts regularly. Draft recommendations from the working groups then went to the Data, Economics and Evidence Workstream for review analysis and testing. 

Areas of focus:

  • Science, Technology, AI & Pharmaceuticals
  • Integration
  • Prevention
  • New Service Models and Multidisciplinary Working
  • Recruit & Retain
  • Develop & Train
  • Leadership

We have also been consulting with key audiences through roundtables, network discussions and other engagement activity.



The phasing of the strategy will be as follows: 

  • October to November 2023 – research and planning 
  • November 2023 to May 2024 – development 
  • June to July 2024 – finalising strategy for launch in summer 
  • Post launch – ongoing communication and implementation.  


Get involved

We are now seeking care providers and other stakeholders who are interested in becoming more involved in the implementation of the strategy. To register your interest please submit your details using the form below.



We'll keep the sector up to date via this webpage and through our regular bulletins. to receive the latest updates.

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