Sector Pulse Check 2022

The Sector Pulse Check is an annual report produced by national learning disability charity Hft, providing a snapshot of the financial health and workforce of the adult social care sector.

In 2022, amid unprecedented challenges facing the sector, Care England partnered with Hft to produce the report and, for the first time, expand its scope to include Older Persons’ care. 

The findings reflect a national survey completed by a representative group of adult social care providers and illustrate the most pertinent issues facing the sector as described by those who live it on a daily basis and understand it best.

The 2022 Sector Pulse Check report was launched by Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, and Kirsty Matthews, CEO of Hft, at the Care England Conference & Exhibition on 16 March 2023. Click below to access the report.

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What are the key findings?

The findings of the 2022 Sector Pulse Check report illustrate that the adult social care sector is on a precipice.

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In the face of growing demand for support, this leaves some of the most vulnerable in society at risk of not being able to access the care and support they need, and has a knock-on impact for wider society, families, communities and the NHS.

A number of key cost-pressures were highlighted as having the most significant impact on providers.

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The financial challenges had implications for the viability of services, with drastic consequences.

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Financial pressures were compounded by workforce challenges, with staff shortages a huge concern.

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Staff shortages had severe consequences for organisations and individuals drawing on care and support.

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Despite the significance of workforce-related cost pressures, low wages relative to other sectors, along with a perception of better opportunities elsewhere, were identified as key drivers of recruitment and retention challenges. Providers selected a number of measures which they felt would have a positive impact on mitigating these issues.

  • 95% of providers stated that increasing pay would have a positive impact on recruitment and retention of social care staff, while
  • 50% said aligning terms and conditions to the NHS would have a positive impact on recruitment and retention of social care staff

What are the key recommendations?

While the report illustrates many challenges, Care England and Hft are filled with hope for a better future – we have a sector brimming with talent, ambition and enthusiasm. The report sets out recommendations that represent realistic, easily implementable policies and we look forward to working with government to make these a reality so our sector can thrive, not just survive.

They include:

  • Establishing a minimum care wage, above the level of the NLW and tied to NHS band three.
  • Aligning benefits, terms and conditions for care staff with those in the NHS, including on pensions, statutory sick pay, holiday entitlements and access to training courses.
  • Establishing a professional register for care workers in England, as is in place in other UK nations.
  • Establishing formal accountability for workforce pay with the Local Authority/Integrated Care System.
  • Providing continued financial support for energy costs and removing the 5% VAT surcharge currently applied to energy bills until prices stabilise.

Care England and Hft are facilitating a roundtable on the Sector Pulse Check 2022 report in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Social Care, with cross-party Parliamentary representation and and key sector stakeholders. This will be an opportunity to discuss the report, its findings, recommendations, and what it means for the sector going forward.

You can see previous instalments of the Sector Pulse Check report on Hft’s website