Written evidence from the Social Care Leaders Scheme (RTR0009)
This document provides evidence for the Select Committee’s consideration in relation to the following elements of the call for evidence:
• What are the principal factors driving staff to leave the social care sector and what could be done to address them?
• What should be in a people plan for the social care sector, to address the recruitment, training and retention of staff?
• To what extent are the employment models used in the social care sector fit for the purpose of attracting, training and retaining the right numbers of staff with the right skills?
The document proposes the creation of a national scheme to attract, train, develop and retain graduates into the social care sector, primarily to help address the shortage of talent at Registered Manager level, a post which has been identified as crucial for attracting and retaining quality staff, and thereby improving the quality of care and support provided.
The proposals in this paper have been submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care and are currently under consideration.
The challenge of providing a social care system that is fit for purpose is significant. Addressing the recruitment and retention crisis requires bold thinking. Further funding to support front-line care workers must be supported by investment in leadership. Outstanding local leaders are proven to be key to building a happy and motivated workforce delivering excellent care and staying in post for longer.
We need to recognise the vital role registered managers have in ensuring the delivery of high-quality care and developing a skilled workforce in their organisation. We will explore options to develop new pathways into the registered manager role.
- People at the Heart of Care: Adult Social Care Reform White Paper, December 2021
Social care needs to challenge itself to work differently and learn from other industries. We need a talent pathway that will attract those who would not naturally have chosen social care as their sector of choice, to its many opportunities. This new genre of leader will inspire and motivate teams by creating learning cultures that embrace quality. A disruptive scheme is needed to deliver this.
- Nadra Ahmed OBE, The National Care Association
As with other public services, the social care sector urgently needs to attract high-calibre candidates who can lead long-term change. This requires a new, disruptive, initiative to make the social care sector a career of choice for the brightest and best.
Through our extensive stakeholder engagement in the feasibility study for this proposition, we spoke with care providers and member organisations to understand the realities of leadership in today’s care system. We identified that within the current care system, the Registered Manager role is critical to achieving successful change. We envisage the Social Care Leaders Scheme supporting a generation of change leaders. Where successful Regional Managers are in place, they are the first line of leadership and they can significantly improve the fulfilment of all front-line care workers. We have also found that where a great Registered Manager is in place, job retention and recruitment is better.
The NHS approach to attracting and developing leaders, as well as schemes elsewhere in the public sector – both in the UK and abroad – provide powerful examples that can be tailored to deliver talent recruitment and leadership development that can transform the care sector.
The Social Care Leaders Scheme’s purpose is to attract and develop over 1,000 talented and inspirational new local leaders from outside the sector over the three two-year cohorts. Importantly, the new scheme will be rooted in the powerful charitable purpose of improving the quality of social care in the UK. Providing this powerful social value proposition has been a key element of the schemes on which this approach builds.
What is the problem?
Adult social care is under extreme pressure. Staffing crises are well-documented. Increased funding and recruitment campaigns will not resolve the problem, particularly if the sector is seen as an employer of last resort for many and if turnover remains at 30% or more. A root cause of the challenge is ill-equipped leadership. There are committed, talented leaders, but they are too few and far between.
Much of this is systemic: as the sector is not seen as a desirable career choice, there is a lack of high-calibre candidates for leadership roles. Most new care home managers are, therefore, promoted from care roles; they report low levels of support and training, as well as poor job satisfaction. As a result, 12% of Registered Manager posts are unfilled, and the turnover rate for Registered Managers – 25% in 2019/20 – is high and rising. Only 25% of new Registered Managers are from outside the sector.
We propose to transform the quality of local team leadership in the social care sector that will:
• help the sector deliver exceptional care to some of the most vulnerable in society;
• improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of care homes, improving their reputations and ratings;
• make the care sector a more desirable place to work, improving recruitment and retention; and,
• help ensure wider society has the care system it deserves.
We will do this by creating a recognised accelerated career pathway, and qualifications that are universally accepted, to increase the attractiveness of key local leadership roles in social care and attract some of the best and brightest graduates. Unlike the NHS and other areas of the private and public sectors, no such scheme currently exists across the care sector.
The key elements of the proposal are:
• Participants will undergo a rigorous selection process
• They will be provided with an initial, intense residential training programme
• All those on the programme will be recruited to entry-level front-line care roles
• Further training, mentorship and support will be provided over the following two years
• Participants will provide care in a range of settings to broaden their experience
• They will be expected to be supported through an accelerated progression to a Deputy Manager
• They will also be expected to achieve a Level 5 qualification in Social Care and a Master’s qualification will be available.
• At the end of their two years, and subject to CQC approval, the expectation will be that participants will be ready to secure a position as Registered Manager.
The programme will be expanded to provide routes into other management roles in the sector and there is an expectation that participants will further develop their careers.
Why a graduate recruitment scheme?
Why do employers hire and train graduates? The broad answer is that they provide a source of home-grown talent that complements their resourcing strategies. How the return on investment is realised varies by sector but graduate programmes aren’t just for the Civil Service, Goldman Sachs and Clifford Chance. Enterprise Rent-a-Car hire over 1,000 graduates per year and it is the only way to join their business. Aldi hire all their area managers through their graduate programme. The NHS runs a highly successful graduate management route outside of the core medical programmes.
There is a debate about graduate vs non-graduate programmes but to ignore this sector is to ignore the 400,000+ students who graduate from a first degree every year. And once salary expectations are met, students rate training as the most important factor in choosing an employer, with working in a sector that provides social value factoring very highly in their thinking as well. Programmes such as Teach First, Police Now, Unlocked and Frontline demonstrate how a career path can be created for graduates into sectors that face a talent shortage, and which had previously struggled to attract graduates.
The scheme has been developed under the auspices of James Darley and Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE, who, as Executive Head of Recruitment and Chair respectively, recruited over 10,000 graduates for Teach First over 15 years, built an award-winning employment brand and supported other highly successful graduate programmes across areas of the public sector previously seen as unattractive for graduates. The scheme will build on the foundations of these successful programmes, as well as on learning from elsewhere in the private and public sectors, particularly the NHS.
The proposed scheme has been developed with and commands the support of the social care sector, with its steering group members including Care England, the National Care Association, the National Care Forum, the Institute for Health and Social Care Management, and Skills for Care. The scheme development to date follows a comprehensive and detailed feasibility study undertaken in 2021 by the University of Edinburgh and Transform Society, commissioned by the CareTech Charitable Foundation and which engaged extensively with a wide range of SME, larger care providers, charitable providers and wider stakeholders.
The scheme proposed would be a charitable venture delivering a clear public benefit, and, if it receives government support, would be run entirely on a not-for-profit basis. Indeed, the development of the scheme to date has been funded by the CareTech Foundation, the charitable arm of Caretech PLC, which has also agreed to incubate the new organisation, with additional support from the Hallmark Care Homes Foundation as well as Anchor Hanover. Two of the UK’s largest care-providing charities, Mencap and Leonard Cheshire, have been instrumental in shaping the scheme, as have the Care Quality Commission, Unison, and, importantly, Skills for Care, the charity which partners the Department for Health and Social Care to help train and develop the social care workforce.
The scheme will also incorporate learning from abroad, including the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, that have shifted primary and secondary social care to a successful patient-centric integrated system.
Social carers are critically important for ensuring that people can live as well as possible in later life. They do an amazing job despite working in an undervalued and underpaid sector but recruiting and retaining the best staff means we need to offer more opportunities for high-quality training and career progression. The proposed social care leadership scheme offers a way to achieve the much-needed shift towards valuing care staff.
Bruce Guthrie - Professor of General Practice and Director of The Advanced Care Research Centre, University of Edinburgh
The proposals are currently under consideration by officials at the Department of Health and Social Care. Further details of the scheme have been provided, and are appended to this paper:
• Appendix A: a paper providing more detail of the proposals, including costings.
• Appendix B: a full – draft – Programme Manual.
Further meetings with officials will be held later in January 2022.
Steering Group membership
This submission is provided on behalf of the Social Care Leaders Scheme Steering Group, whose members are:
- Professor David Grayson CBE (Chair) – Professor Emeritus of Corporate Responsibility at Cranfield School of Management and Chair of Leonard Cheshire.
- Nadra Ahmed DL OBE - Executive Chairman - National Care Association
- Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE – former Chair of Teach First
- Jonathan Freeman MBE – CEO, CareTech Foundation
- Professor Martin Green OBE – CEO, Care England
- Vic Rayner OBE – CEO, National Care Forum
- Oonagh Smyth – CEO, Skills for Care
- Jon Wilks – CEO, Institute of Health and Social Care management
- James Darley – CEO, Transform Society
Chief Executive Officer, CareTech Foundation
Appendix A – Social Care Leaders Scheme – Outline Proposals – October 2021
- This paper provides an outline of a proposed scheme for attracting and recruiting graduates into the social care sector and providing them with the experience, training and guidance to enable them to progress to leadership positions within the sector. The case for such a scheme is summarised in the paper Social Care Leaders Scheme – Summary Briefing, which is included at Appendix A.
- This paper provides an outline of the proposed scheme demonstrating why the scheme will be a success by detailing:
- Attracting graduates
- Recruitment and assessment
- Detail of the two-year programme
- Progression opportunities beyond the scheme
- Measuring success
- Risks and mitigation
- Operational and governance model for the scheme
- Costs and funding proposals
- Next steps
- It must be emphasised that the scheme is being co-developed with providers (large and small), students, care receivers and existing workforce. Details presented in this paper indicate the sustainable operation of the scheme; the detail will be subject to further revision and refinement.
- This national scheme will improve leadership in the care sector, and therefore improve the capacity and performance of the whole workforce. Quality of care will also deliver social benefit in local areas, professionalise the workforce and address the many issues of the sector. This fits well with the Levelling Up agenda by aligning the skills and contribution of the social care sector can aim to take pressure away from the NHS, particularly given the relative importance of the sector in the Midlands and the North of England (as set out in the recent Skills for Care report: The Value of Adult Social Care in England).
- In proposing and creating a graduate development scheme for the social care sector, there are a number of expectations for those who join the scheme.
- Scheme participants will be expected to be a contributing member of the frontline social care workforce throughout their two-year programme.
- Participants will be mentored and trained so that they will have a positive impact on their environment, which is well documented to reduce turnover and increase quality of care.
- Participants on the scheme will be expected to complete a project – either individually or as part of a cohort of participants – relating to the social impact of the scheme and their roles, and reflective of the charitable ethos that underpins the scheme.
- The scheme will provide exposure to care delivery in a range of contexts, in order that participants understand the wider context in which they are operating and to encourage a system-wide view of the challenges. This will include other social care provision as well as community care and the NHS.
- Participants are expected to contribute to the care-providers by injecting a passion for technological advancement driving data and digital within the care sector. We expect participants to work with care providers, receivers and their families with cutting edge care technology, such as care continuity (to ensure joined up delivery with the NHS) and family update apps (improving care quality), which the sector has struggled to adopt.
- The participants will be expected to participate in local authority groups that define the future strategy of care in the area
- At the heart of many of the challenges facing the care sector is that it has far from the best reputation as a place to build a career. This problem is compounded when attracting graduates as social care is behind other sectors that are targeting talent earlier and earlier. Previous attempts to attract graduates into the sector have, in the main, been developed separately by individual employers and have not had the same reach, size and scale, and therefore not the same attraction as sector-wide schemes elsewhere in the public and private sectors. This scheme learns from the challenges faced by these previous attempts: it will be sector-wide and will look to change perceptions of social care – and a career in social care – amongst the undergraduate and graduate populations. It will also deliver the scale and range of developmental opportunities that previous schemes have lacked. And it will be based on recruiting cohorts of participants in local areas, in order that participants can share learning and provide mutual support.
- To inform the development of this proposal, we recently commissioned High Fliers Research to undertake research with under-graduates from 30 of the country’s leading universities. The results of this research showed that students were “almost unanimous in their praise for the creation of a new graduate scheme within the sector.” 12% of participants though a leadership scheme as proposed would be ‘very popular’ and a further 52% thought it would be ‘quite popular’. Respondents welcomed the leadership training the scheme would provide and the opportunity to be part of what they consider a “very noble profession”.
- The research highlighted, however, the challenges of marketing the social care sector to prospective scheme recruits. More than half of respondents confirmed that they had low or no knowledge of the sector. Many respondents considered the sector to be one under considerable strain, placing considerable demands on staff for low rewards. Interestingly, those with some experience of the care sector were more positive and interested in the potential for a graduate leadership scheme. There was also recognition that whilst any new leadership scheme would be popular that attracting people into the care sector, who had not previously considered it may be challenging.
- This resistance to the sector demonstrates the need for this scheme. There is a lack of knowledge of the sector and the inherent opportunities to progress in a meaningful and well rewarded career. As this is not currently obvious to students it supports the case for the SLCS scheme to promote and recruit into the sector as an overarching disruptive programme. This is far more likely to yield success than any one operator attempting to change the perceptions of the sector single handed.
- Students who participated in the market research thought that the RM position was interesting. They were concerned that there would be no further progression opportunities and that the RM role was the only option. In developing this programme we have sought to address these key barriers.
- Importantly, this scheme is rooted in a charitable purpose. This is about more than simply setting up a recruitment and development scheme. Rather it is driven by:
- clarity on the social inequality that is being addressed – in this case the chronic underinvestment in leadership in the social care sector;
- a compelling vision for enduring social change; and
- a belief that leadership and innovation will be the key drivers of change.
- In this respect, the scheme is similar to other public sector schemes, such as Police Now, Teach First and Unlocked, which have proven that co-production of the offering will lead to significant interest in the scheme, and a sea-change in the views of potential recruits. Students who had never considered policing, teaching or the prison service have found a nationwide development scheme with a clear pathway hugely attractive – in sectors which had previously not been seen as desirable. The main attractions have been the disruptive nature of schemes and dedicated pathways to progression. Whilst other sectors have developed graduate schemes that deliver these elements, social care, up to now, has not.
- We will build on the knowledge of these other schemes to develop and deliver a multi-layered approach to drive application volumes, using multiple channels of attraction and engagement and presenting the scheme as national, offering opportunities across the entire sector. This would be combined with a bespoke and targeted school and college outreach campaign. The scheme will be attractive to students and parents as it provides the opportunity to “give back” as well as to excel.
Recruitment and assessment
- Experience from the development of other public sector graduate development schemes indicates that tailored recruitment will be critical to its success. It is vital that candidates have not just the potential to develop into senior leaders and the right skills and competencies to work in care, but also, crucially, that they have the right values. The care sector is values-led, and those who are recruited to the scheme must demonstrate behaviours that are consistent with the sector’s values. Building on the screening processes from other schemes and from care recruitment specialists, we are developing a bespoke process for selecting candidates that ensures excellence as well as retention.
- The recruitment process will include the following elements:
- An initial screen: all applications will be screened against rigorous criteria, agreed with care providers, recipients of care and recruitment advisors.
- A values-based interview: either in person, or online, recruitment will incorporate values-based recruitment methods into the screening and assessment process. We would expect people receiving care to be part of that assessment process.
- A psychometric test, specifically designed for care roles.
- A final stage assessment involving interviews and competency-based tests.
- Once recruited to the scheme, participants will embark on a two-year development programme. This will be very firmly rooted in on-the-job learning at the front line of care provision, supported by on-line and face-to-face training, coaching, mentoring and peer support. Everything from onboarding, to mentor meetings, assessments, training and progression trajectories will be available on an app platform so the participants, and those working with them, can clearly see their daily activities.
- The expectation is that the two-year programme will provide those on the scheme with the skills and experience they need to be able to apply for posts as Registered Managers of care services, or an equivalent role elsewhere in the sector. There would be no guarantee of such a role, and some candidates may take longer.
- The key elements of the programme would be:
- A Summer Institute: an intensive learning experience giving a grounding in the social care sector, the role of front-line care workers, and the leadership challenge the scheme will prepare candidates for. The Institute would include teaching, exercises and participatory sessions, and be delivered in part by people who are recipients of social care.
- An initial role in a front-line care role. This position of responsibility as a carer will provide an important grounding and an understanding of the sector. During this initial role, those on the scheme will receive:
- A robust local induction, provided by the care provider with whom the scheme member is based.
- Training and support leading to the award of a Care Certificate - an agreed set of standards that define the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of specific job roles in the health and social care sectors.
- A programme of leadership training leading to a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care.
- Short-term experiences in other care settings in order to broaden experience and understanding of the sector.
- A placement outside the social care provider to understand better the wider health and social care context. An example of a possible placement would be with an NHS Trust Social Work Team which would provide:
- Establishing a collaborative way of working with the NHS
- The safeguarding environment
- NHS ways of working and pressures and the relationship with social care
- Community care provision
- A final front line care role, where, as well as providing care duties, the following additional development opportunities:
- Working closely with a team leader or deputy Registered Manager, and carrying out some of the management and leadership tasks of that role, on a delegated basis.
- Working with the Registered Manager to both to understand better the leadership challenge, but also to understand the relationship with commissioners, including, for example, developing care packages.
- Further leadership training, leading to a Level 5 Diploma in Health and Social Care. (This is the qualification the CQC will look for as part of the process of assessing Fit and Proper Person status for potential Registered Managers.)
- A programme of mentoring, coaching and peer support, provided by a combination of the care provider with whom the candidate is placed, and the Social Leaders Care Scheme.
- An individual or team charitable project linked to social care.
- A graphic, showing how the programme might look, and giving indicative timescales for each stage of the process is at https://prezi.com/i/l-es1acpsafp/.
Progression from the programme
- It is intended that the scheme will provide sufficient experience and training to enable graduates to be ready to apply for management roles after two years. At that stage, there are four most likely destinations for those on the scheme:
- A Registered Manager position, responsible for a care service.
- An equivalent management position elsewhere in a care provider (for example in quality, HR, or business development).
- A similar role in an organisation within the wider health and social care sector (for example, with another provider, in the NHS, with a commissioner or with central or local government).
- Pursuing a career outside the health and social care sector.
- As feedback from the High Fliers research confirmed, many of those who join a graduate scheme such as this are unlikely to be satisfied to simply attain a first level leadership position – and that is not the limit of the intention of the scheme. For those who remain in the sector, therefore, and who show the potential to progress to more senior management positions, further development opportunities will be provided: (a) by their employing care provider as part of a leadership development programme, and (b) by the Social Care Leaders Scheme, through ongoing mentorship, peer support and alumni membership.
- We will measure success against three different types of metrics: quantitative, qualitative and quality. All activity will be recorded on the participants’ personalised performance and progression app.
- Quantitative base data - the number of those:
- Joining the scheme
- Graduating from the scheme and moving to Registered Manager roles in a social care provider
- Graduating from the scheme and moving to an equivalent management role for a social care provider
- Graduating the scheme and taking a role elsewhere in health or social care (for example joining the DHSC)
- Remaining in the care sector after 5, 10, 15 years
- Progressing beyond a first leadership role into more senior leadership positions
- Qualitative data – feedback from:
- Care receivers and families about the quality of care from those on the scheme
- Receivers of care about the impact and performance of individuals while on the scheme
- Receivers of care about the impact and performance of individuals once they move to management roles
- Employers about the performance of those on the scheme under different metrics
- Those on the scheme about the impact of the scheme and the quality of learning and development
- Other employees around the impact on their roles and their job satisfaction
- Happiness in the home/workplace assessment, before and after
- Innovation/ change / impact assessments
- Quality data – the performance of services led by graduates of the scheme:
- CQC ratings
- People data:
- Staff satisfaction
- Staff recruitment and retention
Operating and governance model
- For a proposed governance and operating model, we have looked to Teach First and Police Now. Given that the SCLS will be in its infancy, the initial operating model will include: individuals dedicated to designing the programme, delivering the programme, and recruiting graduates to the programme. Further roles around social care strategy, policy and engagement (as exist in both TF and PN) may be included at the outset, or added once the programme is up and running successfully. In the meantime, the CEO could take those responsibilities as part of the brief.
- On the governance side, the Board should include senior and influential figures from the social care, recruitment and healthcare sectors, and from business.
- Given the emphasis in the social care sector on co-production with those receiving care, an insights and impact committee made up of people working in the care sector, and people who are receiving care, (along the line of the similar Police Now committee).
- Board and Insight and Impact Committee membership and terms of reference would mirror those from TF and PN.
- That would suggest the following organisational structure at launch:
Proposed organisational structure for the launch stage of the Social Care Leaders Scheme
Risks and mitigation
- A project of this scale inevitably carries a degree of risk. Risk is being managed by the project team and overseen by the Steering Group which is overseeing delivery of the proposals.
- A summary of key scheme risks is below:
That the scheme fails to attract sufficient candidates
Dedicated recruitment and marketing, learning from Teach First and other similar schemes
High attrition rate of candidates
Mentoring, coaching, pastoral support. Scheme designed with student and graduate input.
Lack of support from the sector: insufficient funded places
Scheme is being designed in partnership with social care providers. Scheme can run with fewer places in years one and two
A safeguarding incident relating to somebody on the scheme
All those on the scheme will be recruited for values, DBS-checked, will receive safeguarding training and a thorough induction
Insufficient funding, either to develop the scheme or to support it when it goes live
The social care sector has supported the scheme to date. Discussions ongoing with central and local government, business and charitable trusts
The scheme has a detrimental impact on morale and retention of those who might feel “passed over”
Recruiting for values and behaviours and strong induction for candidates. Support will need to be provided for services hosting candidates.
A prolonged COVID lockdown reduces ability of social care sector to accommodate the scheme
Much marketing, recruitment activity and training can be delivered online. Additional support in care settings a positive
Costs and funding
- With the scheme under development, costs are necessarily at an early stage. However, information from equivalent schemes in other sectors suggests the following indicative costs per participant:
Social Care Leaders Scheme: indicative high-level per-participant cost breakdown
Year 1 (£)
Year 2 (£)
- Training and qualifications
Total – per participant
- The overall costs of the scheme will depend on the number of graduates recruited, and the fixed costs – principally IT and scheme overheads – will reduce on a per-participant basis as numbers increase.
- That said, overall costs for 1,500 participants on the scheme over three years per our feasibility study proposal would be of the order of:
TOTAL for 1,050 participants
Number of Y1 participants
Number of Y1 participants
Total Programme Costs
Total Salary Costs
- The sector has agreed that it would pay the salary and on-costs and we propose that government funds the programme itself.
- The scheme is still under development and the key next steps are:
- Quantitative and qualitative feedback from undergraduates to understand better their perspective on the scheme, the social care sector, and the challenges and opportunities for the scheme.
- Discussions within the care sector on the scheme and particularly the two-year programme. (These will inevitably be informed by feedback from undergraduates.)
- Wider stakeholder engagement and the development of marketing material.
- More detailed costing.
- Proposals for a pilot of the scheme. Key issues for the pilot are: (a) the size of a first and second year intake, balancing the need for the first two intakes to be manageable and the need to show that the scheme can be scaled up; and (b) the location(s) for the first cohorts of participants. Again, there is a balance to be struck: the pilot needs to be based where social housing providers are able to support and provide opportunities for participants. It also needs to show that the scheme can work across the UK. A third factor is the potential for a pilot of the scheme to contribute to the government’s levelling up agenda, particularly in relation to health inequalities: strong local social care leadership will improve care quality and should, in turn, reduce pressure on the NHS.
Social Care Leaders Scheme
DRAFT 0.1 – November 2021
Section one – programme outline
1.1 – Summer Institute
1.2 – Hands-on care work experience
1.3 – First line management experience
1.4 – Towards Registered Manager status
1.5 – Coaching, mentoring, support
1.6 – Outplacement opportunities
1.7 – Digital learning
Section two – learning goals
2.1 – Leading and managing in adult social care
2.2 – Leading and managing teams
2.3 – Responsibilities
2.4 – Improvements and innovation
2.5 – Communication
2.6 – Values and behaviours
2.7 – Health and safety
2.8 – Professional development
Section three – onward learning and career development
This document brings together current thinking about the learning and development programme that will underpin the Social Care Leaders Scheme.
The document is in three main parts:
- Part one outlines the programme itself, from the Summer Institute through to participants being in a position to attain Registered Manager status.
- Part two details the learning goals that underpin the two-year programme
- Part three looks at onward learning and career development, so that those successfully completing the scheme can continue to develop their careers in the social care sector.
A number of principles have underpinned the development of the programme:
- The programme will be bold and push boundaries
- We expect participants to achieve things others may think is unreasonable
- Participants will be held accountable for the impact they are having on the ground
- The programme is a close partnership between the scheme, social care providers and participants
- The programme is just the start of a career in social care leadership
At its simplest the programme has seven main elements, as follows:
Each of these elements is described in more detail in the sections below.
1.1 – Summer Institute
The Social Care Leaders Scheme Summer Institute will be the formal opening session of the Social Care Leaders Scheme. Other graduate schemes tend to run summer institutes during the summer holidays in order to make use of University facilities.
Each Institute will bring together a cohort of participants, based around a regional Institute hub. We envisage 30 or so participants at each hub, in order to ensure a community of learners that can provide – at the institute and beyond – mutual support.
The Institute will run for 6-8 weeks with a focus on practical learning. The 6-8 weeks will be largely residential and will be spent in a combination of:
- Classroom-based learning
- A simulated care environment
- A care environment, ideally one rated Good or Outstanding with strong local leadership.
There will be four key elements of the Institute:
- Training on core care competencies in order to give scheme participants a head-start on achieving the Care Certificate when they start work with care providers. The approach to core care competency training would be a sequenced combination of:
- online and self-guided learning
- face-to-face residential for theory and safe practice, followed by
- on the ground training in a care setting with
- the opportunity for reflection and mentoring.
- Learning on the policy, socio-economic, and legislative contexts.
- An introduction to leadership and management.
- An introduction to the requirements of Regulation 7 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
In order for the Institute to be ready for launch, the following decisions need to be taken and workstreams need to be delivered:
- Identify when in the year the Institute should run – most tend to operate in the summer to take advatange of education facilities. However, school holidays are often challenging for care providers. September might be a better option?
- Identify and agree the core care competencies. These are the key skills that participants should have a sound working knowledge of before starting in a home.
- Develop an online learning package
- Establish who provides the key learning elements
- Identify regional host sites, including extent of residential element
- Finalise costings
1.2 – Hands-on care work experience
Immediately after the Summer Institute, scheme participants will move to their first placement with their employing provider.
The focus on the first placement will be on learning the fundamentals of care delivery. As such, participants will be expected to work full-time in a single care setting as a care worker. They will work on a shift basis, as a team member.
Advice from similar schemes is that there should be at least two participants in each home.
This first hands-on initial placement is expected to last three months. During that time, alongside their day-to-day work, scheme participants will be supported by coaching, mentoring and other tools, provided by the Social Care leaders Scheme, by their employer, and by Skills for Care. More details of this support are provided in section [x].
The emphasis for the first three months will be on developing and demonstrating essential care skills, using a Novice-to-Expert structured approach, building on learning from the Summer Institute.
The formal learning goal will be the Level 2 Care Certificate. Achieving a Care Certificate is normally expected to take up to six months. With the benefit of the Summer Institute participants would be expected to obtain the certificate within three months of starting their first placement.
The Care Certificate is an agreed set of standards that define the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected of specific job roles in the health and social care sectors. It is made up of the 15 minimum standards that should be covered if you are 'new to care' and should form part of a robust induction programme.
The core standards are:
We need to establish:
- how scheme participants will be assessed in order to receive their care certificate. The most obvious and simplest option would be for them to be assessed by their employer alongside other employees. Another option would be for the Social Care Leaders Scheme to have a central assessment function (either carried out by the scheme itself or by a third-party assessment service) to ensure consistency of learning and practice.
- an approach for those who struggle to meet the requirements of the care certificate.
- a system for the Scheme to assess the quality of placements, learning and support for scheme members, and
- a system for intervening if a placement is not delivering what the participant and/or provider needs.
1.3 – First line management experience
On completion of the Care Certificate, and for the remaining nine months or so of their first year, scheme participants will, crucially, continue to work in a front-line care role for 80% of their time. This will ensure they continue to experience and understand the core care responsibilities.
For the remaining 20% of their time, they will begin to develop their management and leadership skills and practice. This will be achieved in three ways:
- Initially, by shadowing a first line manager (normally a Team Leader or Deputy Registered Manager)
- Increasingly, and as appropriate, by being delegated the line manager’s tasks and responsibilities, to be carried out under the supervision of the line manager. The sorts of tasks that should be experienced are:
- Rota creation
- Handling safeguarding referrals, including representing the provider at local safeguarding forums, l
- Leading reflective practice and management supervision
- Alongside practical experience, by training in line management
Mentoring, coaching and other support systems will remain in place during this period.
During this period, participants will also be expected to undertake a placement in another care setting (potentially, but not necessarily) with a different care provider, in order to experience a different type of care provision. More details of placements are in section [X].
The formal learning goal for this stage of the programme would be a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (Adults) for England.
- Personal development
- Values and behaviours
- Health and wellbeing
We need to establish:
- The extent to which it is reasonable to expect a graduate to take on management functions within one year.
- The sorts of functions they should be expected to carry out.
- Any that they should not.
- What outputs the Scheme should expect from participants, over and above achieving the diploma
- As with previous stages, systems for ensuring quality of learning and development.
1.4 – Towards Registered Manager status
For the second year of the Scheme, the emphasis will be on learning and developing the skills which underpin the Registered Manager role, and achieving the fit-and-proper person status, as assessed by the CQC.
Participants will continue to deliver front-line care during this second year, and will do so for 60% of their time, with the remainder of the time being devoted to:
- Shadowing the Registered Manager of the site in which they work
- Increasingly taking responsibility, under the supervision of the Registered Manager, for appropriate tasks and functions
- Classroom-based and online learning, and
- Two four-week secondments (a) in another care setting, and (b) in a setting that gives wider context of the health and social care environment in which they are working. These secondments are detailed in section [X].
The ambition for the second year is that participants will be in a position to apply for Registered Manager roles by the end of the year.
The formal learning goal for the second year of the programme is the Level 5 Diploma in Health and Social Care Leadership. The detailed learning objectives that underpin that learning goal are set out in detail in Section 2 of this paper.
Critical to the success of the second year is experience in a leadership capacity: learning itself is not enough: participants will need to show the CQC that they have put into practice the skills they have learned.
Clarity is needed on:
- Functions which can reasonably be delegated by a Registered Manager, under their supervision
- Any which can not
- Approach to the assessment and awarding of the Diploma. There are currently 30 or so awarding bodies. Most, but not all, are accredited by Skills for Care.
- Plan for those who are not able to demonstrate fit-for-purpose criteria. For some, it will be a matter of time and experience. For others, the Registered Manager post will not be appropriate or achievable.
1.5 – Coaching, mentoring, support
In addition to the formal learning and experience offered by the various stages of the scheme in sections 1.1 – 1.4, participants will all benefit from additional support during the programme.
That support will be provided jointly by the Social Care Leaders Scheme itself, by each participants’ employer, and by Skills for Care.
The Social Care Leaders Scheme will provide the following support for participants:
- A formal structured coaching programme, with an independent coach, with a focus on developing leadership and management skills.
- A Development Lead who will be support the participant with training needs across the programme
- A nominated course partner – somebody else on the course in the same cohort – to provide peer-to-peer support
- Six two-day conferences during the two years for all cohort members. These will have three key objectives:
- Supplement existing learning on leadership
- Explore the wider context in which the Scheme – and its participants – are operating, and, crucially
- Providing an opportunity for participants to share learning and experience and to strengthen the sense of community and mutual support.
Employers will provide:
- A formal, structured mentoring programme, with a mentor from within the organisation, with a focus on supporting learning on social care as well as leadership.
- Access to leadership and management learning resources
- Time away from the business for outplacements and attending conferences
Skills for Care already provide considerable resource for supporting those progressing to Registered Manager roles:
- Webinars and blogs, including a series aimed at leading and managing a diverse workforce in a social care environment
- Guidance on building resilience in a management role
- Local networks
We need to establish precisely who provides coaching and mentoring, and how quality is assured.
1.6 – Outplacement opportunities
During the two years of the programme, participants will be offered three outplacement opportunities. These will provide:
- Exposure to different types of care provision and care setting
- Experience of different leadership styles
- Wider understanding of the broader context in which care is provided.
These outplacements will be for four weeks each, with the expectation that one will be in the first year and two in the second year.
The outplacements will be:
- The first outplacement, in year one, will be in another care setting – potentially with another care provider – that provides a very different type of care for a different group of people.
- The second outplacement will be outside of the care provider, ideally shadowing and working alongside a safeguarding team, either in a local authority or local government social work team
- The third and final outplacement will be in another care setting.
After each outplacement, participants will be expected to produce a report detailing their learning from the outplacement and its applicability to their ‘home’ care setting.
In addition to these formal four-week placements, employers will be expected to provide participants with other, shorter opportunities to learn about the wider context in which they are working, for example by shadowing those working in:
- Business Development
1.7 – Digital learning
Learning from similar graduate schemes suggests that high quality learning and support can be provided digitally. Examples of excellent and transformative practice include:
- Making short videos of good practice in action
- Creating a digital portal, through which participants can:
- access course content
- store contact details
- book training, coaching, mentoring etc sessions
- access forums for sharing learning and experiences
The scheme’s approach to digital learning needs to be developed.
Programme Learning Goals
This section lists the skills and knowledge which form the learning goals for participants on the Social Care Leaders Scheme (SCLS). The skills and learning are taken wholesale from the qualification requirements for a Level 5 Diploma in Leading and Managing an Adult Care Service, as published by Skills for Care in 2021. This is deliberate: Skills for Care’s qualification requirements form a comprehensive and thorough list of the key requirements of a Registered Manager, and were published following widespread consultation within the social care sector and beyond. And a close link to the expectations of those seeking Registered Manager roles ensures the SCLS is not operating to – and is not seen as operating to – different standards.
The key difference will be the timescales in which SCLS participants would be expected to achieve these learning goals. Skills for Care anticipate a total qualification time of 900-950 hours, 750-800 of which would be from the core topics listed below, with the remainder coming from optional content. Training providers suggest up to five years for completing the learning. The SLCS expect participants to achieve the goals in one year.
Core learning goals are split into eight topic areas, as follows:
- Leading and managing in adult social care, with the following detailed learning goals:
- Leadership and management
- Governance and regulatory processes
- Business and resource management
- Leading and managing teams
- Team leadership
- Team learning and development
- Supervising others
- Mental capacity
- Comments and complaints
- Improvements and innovation
- Leading the vision
- Continuous improvement
- Effective communication
- Handling information
- Values and behaviours
- Leading person-centred practice
- Health and wellbeing
- Equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights
- Health and safety
- Health and safety
- Professional development
- Continuous development
- Personal wellbeing
In addition to the learning that is core for all those seeking to progress to Registered Manager positions, Skills for Care identified other areas in which further learning would be helpful.
Chief amongst these is digital skills, an area in which the social care sector lags behind other areas of the economy. These skills will be particularly important for graduates entering social care via the SCLS, as one of the aspirations for the scheme is that it introduces a disruptive energy in relation to digital skills.
Other areas of optional learning are designed to provide improved context for future Registered Managers, or a greater level of detail in some core areas. The key areas of optional learning, other than digital, are:
- Leading and managing different adult social care service models
- Aspects of care
- Aspects of management