A survey asking for staff in adult social care to discuss their experiences in the sector has been launched by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Produced in conjunction with Skills for Care and the University of Kent, the research aims to better understand how to recruit and retain staff, build capacity, and improve working conditions within the sector.
The findings will be used to inform decisions on growing and supporting the care workforce in the future, according to the DHSC.
Chief nurse for adult social care, Professor Deborah Sturdy said: ‘To build a social care workforce fit for the future, we need to listen to current staff members, whose hard work and dedication is the cornerstone of the care sector.
‘I don’t want care work to just be a job, I want it to be a long-term career choice. This survey will expand our knowledge of what is working well for staff as well as, crucially, where additional support can be provided to keep the skilled professionals we already have and bring more people into care roles.’
The survey is open to all staff working in any care-related roles across all settings in adult social care, including those working in local authority adult social care.
It will provide evidence on the factors that affect work-related quality of life as well as workforce retention and combined with the existing Adult Social Care Workforce Dataset to help to ‘provide a well-rounded view of the care workforce’.
Health minister Lord Markham commented that the government couldn’t invest effectively without ‘listening to the people working in social care’.
‘I want care to be a profession, with fantastic training, career paths and opportunities to progress. By taking on board the views of care staff, we’ll know more about their experiences and can look at ways to make that reality.’ Lord Markham added.
This comes after Skills for Care found that the number of registered nurses working in the adult social care sector had grown slightly for the first time in a decade.
The workforce update showed that the number of filled roles across the overall social care workforce has increased by around 20,000 (1%), between April 2022 and March 2023.
The DHSC has pledged to provide £570m over two years to support the adult social care workforce. However, this pledge has been criticised for being insufficient compared with the state of the sector’s workforce difficulties.
Skills for Care CEO, Oonagh Smyth, said: ‘The workforce survey offers an important opportunity to find out more about the quality of life of the 1.6 million people who work in care.
‘We would urge as many people as possible to have their say, as the findings will help us to better understand and tackle the challenges the sector and the people working in it are facing.’