Written evidence submitted by Papworth Trust (RTR0095)


About Papworth Trust 


1.      Papworth Trust is a disability charity and registered social housing provider, whose aim is for disabled people to have equality, choice and independence. Papworth Trust helps over 5,000 people every year through a wide range of services including housing, work and care. 


2.      Papworth Trust is contracted by Suffolk County Council to deliver c.4,000 hours of complex care to customers each week and our services are all rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. The Trust has always been proud of the high level of care delivered, but we are now genuinely concerned about the sustainability of these services.


3.      Papworth Trust believes that every disabled person should be able to live their life independently, with choice and control. Receiving the right level of care and support is a central component of achieving these outcomes. We want to see disabled people receive a high-quality service that is based on their need and where possible acts as a prevention against further deterioration in their health and subsequent admission into hospital care settings. 


4.      Papworth Trust welcomed the Social Care White Paper, it was long overdue. However the lack of any immediate funding options was very worrying, and without them we have real concerns for the future sustainability of the sector.


Effects of the coronavirus pandemic

5.      As a vital, statutory service, Papworth Trust maintained delivery of care to all of our customers throughout the pandemic, often working in inventive and flexible ways to ensure the safety of customers and staff. 


6.      The Trust has had to incur significant additional expenditure in terms of increased hygiene measures, increasing our staff hourly pay rate and enhancing sick pay benefits as well as back-filling shielding and isolating staff. To date we have needed to use significant sums of our charitable funding to support our care services, but this is an unsustainable long-term solution and fear it will place a significant financial burden on the Trust which could ultimately lead us to withdrawing from care delivery.


7.      The Trust is not alone in this situation, and nor are providers. A recent survey by the Association of Directors for Adult Social Services (ADASS) found that that 49 councils out of 98 who responded are taking at least one exceptional measure to prioritise care and assess risk for at least some of their area for some of the time[1]. It went onto say that “every director working with colleagues across the council has had to take incredibly difficult decisions to determine who gets care and support, who gets less care and who misses out, and how to allocate what care and support is available.” Not only are these decisions ones that should not have to be taken, but they are leaving vulnerable adults at risk when the care they need cannot be met.


Recruitment and retention of social care staff


8.      As an employer, Papworth Trust is currently a middle-rate payer within the social care sector and pay our staff above the minimum living wage. We strongly believe that nationally, the pay awarded to people who work in the care sector does not in any way match the demands of the job and the responsibilities of their roles, nor value the job they do. On top of this the prolonged pandemic has placed relentless pressure on our workforce, who are exhausted. We are seeing the impact of this and staff are leaving in large numbers, resulting in the Trust facing an acute recruitment crisis than it has ever seen before.


9.      This is not an issue felt solely by Papworth Trust but is sector wide. According to Skills for Care, the care worker turnover rate in 2020/21 was 34.4%[2]. Given this high turnover rate occurs nationally, we feel this demands a national response, as alone providers are not going to be able to bring about the change that is needed.


10.  When mandatory vaccinations are introduced later in the Spring, we anticipate small numbers of our staff being forced to leave the organisation and sector as well and further exacerbating the issue.


11.  Where previously, we would have been able to turn to bank and agency staff to prop up any shortfalls, these are becoming increasingly difficult to source and utilising these options does not come without issues. Increasing reliance on agency staff may lead to a lack of consistency in staff and support for the customer, which in turn could lead to an increase in challenging behaviours and/or hospitalisations. With the customer at the heart of this, we must ask the question; what does inconsistency of staff, or a change in their ratios from 2:1 to 1:1 limit them doing? We need to consider the detrimental impact this staffing crisis is having on the individual’s quality of life and their independence.


Image of social care


12.  Papworth Trust starts with the fundamental belief that people work in social care roles for a reason – because they care. One of the main issues the care sector is facing is staff recruitment and retention and as the economy opens there are competing job opportunities which pay more and are less stressful. In such a vibrant labour market, there is no fear of being left out of work. We believe we offer excellent support and training to our employees, but in comparison to other industries pay is low and the demands of the job are high. Recruiting good quality staff in the social care sector is always a challenge but this has never been more critical.


13.  We find that we are in direct competition with the retail sector, which is seen as a more attractive field of employment. We have experienced staff leaving to pursue careers outside of the social care sector for better pay and less responsibility, combined with a reducing pool of new employees because we are in direct competition with the retail industry and others.


14.  We argue that social care staff need parity with their colleagues in the NHS. It’s not simply about pay, but also the terms and conditions and benefits that go with the role. As an example, there are well publicised discounts for NHS workers – at shops, restaurants and some tourist attractions by using their blue light card – but there is very little of the same for those who work in social care.


15.  The pandemic has caused people to reassess their lives. Shift patterns in social care can sometimes prove difficult and during unsociable hours. When combined with the level of responsibility it brings, it can prove unattractive for many. However it can also bring a real sense of satisfaction.


16.  Papworth Trust believes the image of social care needs to change to be a career option with good rates of pay and clear routes of progression, as opposed to something you fall into. This cannot be achieved without a national injection of funding and support.


Better integration with the NHS


17.  It has long been said that the health and social care sectors need to be better integrated. Understanding the role the social care sector plays in supporting the NHS is crucial to this. Social Care not only prevents people going into hospital, but also supports people by enabling them to leave hospital sooner than they otherwise could.


18.  Papworth Trust believes the NHS People Plan has missed this vital connection; health and social care are still not being seen as whole. Our team work to prevent people going into hospital, whilst working to support them to leave again. More needs to be done to join up this end to end process.


Training and development


19.  Whilst there were high hopes for the care certificate, Papworth Trust does not believe it has achieved what it set out to do across the sector. The purpose of the certificate was to transfer training between organisations, but in reality when a new member of staff joins a new organisation they have to redo their training regardless of where they worked previously or how experienced they are. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why this is, but one explanation could be the level of responsibility that comes back on an organisation if anything were to go wrong in the future that could see a lack of training at fault.


20.  Papworth Trust believes more needs to be done to support leaders in the social care sector. Leaders are always fire-fighting, they lack investment and succession planning is extremely limited. Not facing a full team of staff beneath further exacerbates a feeling of being unsupported and isolated in their roles.








21.  Papworth Trust wants every disabled person and their carers to get the support they need, when they need it. This will mean disabled people are able to live independent lives and are empowered to have choice and control in all that they do.


22.  The Government’s Social Care White Paper was long awaited and welcome. However, it doesn’t address the current crisis we are facing in the recruitment and retention of staff. High vacancy levels mean we can’t afford to keep waiting, the sector has already waited too long. Our dedicated staff deserve better pay commitments that come in immediately, which recognise the outstanding role they have played and continue to play throughout the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.  We need a long-term solution to this crisis and we need it now.



For further information, please contact: 

Nicola Whiteman, Policy and Communications Manager


Jan 2022




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[1] ADASS Contingency Survey 2022

[2] Skills for Care, “The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England”, October 2021.