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we believe this is the way forward for Directors to understand the workforce in their localities.

London – 23rd June 2009: Ninety-two per cent of Directors have begun key work on the Integrated Local Area Workforce Strategies, or InLAWS – deemed essential by government – according to landmark survey research today released by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Skills for Care.

InLAWS are the preferred solution of Directors of Adult Social Services (DASS) to the workforce dilemmas they face in providing safe and personalised social care services. The survey research provides a benchmark for both how Directors are doing with meeting their priorities as well as for evaluating the impact of the InLAWS project.

The survey clearly highlights evidence that shows Directors recognise how a commissioning-based approach to workforce strategy can secure choice, dignity and safety for services users. InLAWS is the right approach to meet that need, as it seeks to ensure a steady supply of capable and competent practitioners available to both established and new social care providers.

The picture from the survey responses also indicates Directors are aware of how workforce commissioning is the way to build a vibrant local social care market. Progress with personalisation of services is seen as going hand in hand with prioritising key issues of workforce strategy and tackling the associated barriers, the survey reveals.

In the survey Directors also can be seen to be already putting in place the complex leadership and management investment needed to bring together local assessments of needs, relevant data and flow of workforce supply via engagement with different stakeholders. Solutions to this very complexity are central to the emergent ADASS and Skills for Care joint InLAWS initiative.

The 2009 InLAWS research is the first stage of this joint ADASS and Skills for Care project to support Directors deliver the Department of Health’s 2009 Working to put people first: the strategy for the adult social care workforce in England. Once completed, it will provide a practical methodology that assists Directors effectively balance service with workforce commissioning and financial strategy. “The complexity of working with a large number of stake-holders and getting on top of data management issues that need to be addressed in order to develop InLAWS is a real challenge,” says ADASS President Jenny Owen. “But we believe this is the way forward for Directors to understand the workforce in their localities. Directors of Adult Social Services are making encouraging progress.”

“This survey has given Directors of Adult Social Services the chance to voice their opinion on how to develop this critical methodology needed to assist them in both developing personalised services and ensuring they have a workforce for the 21st century across their local area,” notes Skills for Care CEO Andrea Rowe.

The survey was conducted by independent market researchers Ipsos MORI during March/April 2009 to benchmark current progress on the development of InLAWS. The survey yielded responses from all regions across England, canvassing opinions on a wide set of InLAWS topics, ranging from how Directors are going about the workforce commissioning task, what challenges they are encountering, how they are using the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) and what help they need to develop workforce commissioning strategies. Notably, good data management was highlighted as an aspiration by the overwhelming majority.

The survey response rate at 47% was considerably higher than the usual rate for this sort of social care research. The result offers a unique snapshot of the perspective of DASS about the focal position of workforce commissioning in progressing the transformation of adult social services.

The research shows that 77% of respondents prioritised managing the complexity of bringing together needs and workforce data through engagement with different stakeholders as core. A large number of authorities – 73% – feel that improved integrated Human Resources (HR) information systems for collecting workforce data would enhance their efforts. Meanwhile, the same percentage thinks 'a lack of common data sets across all stake-holder groups in my area’ is an obstacle to be overcome. The sheer volume of data collection required was also noted as a big task by some 60% of authorities.

The survey also showed that conflicting priorities within local authorities got in the way of progressing InLAWS for over a quarter (27%). A fifth of respondents, 20%, said that private and voluntary sectors partner organisations understanding or buy-in to the workforce planning process could be strengthened. Similar issues and communication problems with Health were also flagged as a challenge here.

Another aim in the research was to find out if local authorities are using the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) when planning and developing InLAWS. The result is very encouraging. Nearly three-quarters (72%) said 'yes,' while 67% find NMDS-SC either 'fairly' or 'very' helpful. However, there was also a strong conviction that NMDS, while useful, needs further development to realise its true potential and that removing barriers in current data management is a priority in progressing InLAWS work.

When respondents were asked about the top three areas they would like to receive greater support, common suggestions included a common social care and health policy, better data and ‘more leadership and vision'.

ADASS and Skills for Care believe the findings constructively pinpoint barriers and identify priorities in workforce commissioning. InLAWS will now focus action on efforts to assist Directors lead and accelerate the process so as to improve the delivery of care services in their communities and to drive forward the transformation agenda.

The research results form the basis of a special ADASS and Skills for Care report, Meeting the workforce challenges of personalisation in Social Care (England). For a copy, contact Amanda Jane PR:
Email – info@amandajanepr.com
Tel: 020 7704 1585 / 07920 052 160

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

About InLAWS

The Integrated Local Area Workforce Strategies (InLAWS) proposal builds on work undertaken by Don Brand for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) on Commissioning and the Workforce as well as the ADASS/Care Services Improvement Partnership (CSIP is a former part of the Department of Health) publication (June 2007), What Does A Commissioning Framework Look Like? A Framework for Delivering the Future Workforce. In these documents it was argued that workforce planning has to be considered related to the three levels of commissioning, individual, local and strategic. The document stated that such an approach “will allow a feedback loop of individual needs, local requirements and overarching workforce development which is flexible enough to meet people’s needs, but in sufficient supply to ensure that, within the local population, there are the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies available to deliver services”.

InLAWS best describes the approach proposed: integrated to cement the intent to include the whole social care workforce and all employers; local area to place the task firmly in the context of Local Strategic Partnerships and the joint commissioning agenda; workforce strategies to recognise the number of dimensions related to the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), and that the remit is different to organisational workforce planning.

InLAWS was presented this month by Jo Cleary, Executive Director of Adults’ and Community Services at Lambeth and Vic Citarella for the ADASS/Skills for Care project team, at the Society Guardian’s National Commissioning Conference (22 and 23rd June), Birmingham. For a copy of the presentation, contact Amanda Jane PR.

About The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of Adult Social Services in local authorities in England. As well as having statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of leisure, library, housing, culture and arts services within their councils. ADASS grew out of the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS), following the division of local authority services for adults and children.
www.adass.org.uk

About Skills for Care

Skills for Care is the employer-led authority on the training standards and development needs of nearly one million social care staff in England, providing over £25 million in funding to support improved training and qualifications for managers and staff. It works with social care employers and training providers both regionally and nationally to establish the necessary standards and qualifications to best equip social care workers with the skills needed to deliver an improved standard of care.
www.skillsforcare.org.uk

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