NWADASS are actively supporting the sector to address workforce pressures across the region. We’ve convened a Task and Finish Group with a range of stakeholders including NW ADASS, LGA, Skills for Care, NHSEI, HEE and providers. Whilst we recognise there are lots of opportunities over the medium term, the message from providers is clear – they’re looking for support now. We’ve commissioned some additional capacity to focus on short term activity to help alleviate some of the immediate and pressing workforce challenges that providers are facing.

We’ve a range of activity planned over the next couple of months – all aimed at making a difference now as well as laying foundations for our more medium term aspirations:

· Regional recruitment campaign: The loudest message we’re hearing from providers is help us change the narrative. There’s so much in the media about social care being in crisis but the reality is not many people are attracted to work in a crisis. We’re aiming to help shift the narrative, promoting social care as the wonderful opportunity it is to make a difference to peoples’ lives, the diversity of types of work and the great progression opportunities available.

· Support to Providers: We know that for smaller providers, recruitment can be another task for busy managers to do who don’t have the headspace or time to think differently about how to increase their chances of success. To help with this, we’re developing a co-ordinated package of recruitment resources and we’re going to be testing out a Recruitment “drop in” for providers to access advice and support.

· Support for Applicants: Promoting social care is one thing but making sure applicants have the best possible recruitment experience is just as important – especially at the moment with a buoyant jobs market. We’re teaming up with the Princes Trust, DWP colleagues and an independent training provider to co-ordinate efforts to support people into social care roles with pre-employment support and training.

· Student Placements: we’re working with HEE and education providers to explore how we increase the number and variety of social care placements for students. We’re looking at how we encourage different thinking, for example, a placement in social care can be a fantastic opportunity for a nursing or medical student, and what support is available to providers. We know, for example, it can be harder to make student placements work for smaller providers so we’re looking at options around encouraging collaboration across smaller providers within a locality and how they might creatively utilise the financial support available to secure capacity to support student placements.

· Knitting it all together: We know there is loads of activity happening across the region to secure a robust social care workforce but it’s a complex picture and it can feel hard to navigate. We’re starting to map what’s available in the different sub-regions to attract, support and recruit people into social care to help us all get a little clearer about how to access what’s out there and to understand where there are opportunities for further development.