Social care workforce

The Coalition Government's response to the 2008 financial crisis led to reductions in publicly funded social care. It is important to look at whether this has affected the workforce.

Who employs the adult social care workforce?

The National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) collects information from care providers to understand the size and scope of the adult social care sector. This can include the types of care services provided, how much care provision there is and information on the workforce. For more information on this data please see 'about this data' below.

We can see that by far the largest sector of adult social care workers are employed by the private sector, accounting for 58%. The next largest group of workers are employed by the voluntary sector; this was 20% in 2014. The spread of workers employed by the different sectors has changed little since 2011.

What are the trends in publicly funded adult social care staff numbers?

The number of whole time equivalent council-employed adult social service jobs has decreased by 23% since 2011 to 97,100. Those providing direct care (e.g. care workers, support workers) make up almost half of the council-employed adult social service workforce. However, the number of WTE employed in direct care roles has decreased by 31% since 2011.

There was a small increase in the number of staff employed in professional roles (e.g. social workers, occupational therapists) to 2013, but by 2015 2% of the 2011 workforce level had been lost.

Distribution of adult social service jobs by service group

The distribution of jobs in different service groups has changed very little from 2011 to 2015. The largest group was community care (which includes services such as: social work, information and advice, care management or community support and outreach) which made up 34% of jobs in 2015. The next largest group was residential care (which includes jobs at care homes, sheltered housing and other residential services), which was 22%. The smaller groups were other (which includes head office jobs) with 21% of jobs, domiciliary or home care (which includes all care at home: home help, meals on wheels etc.) with 14%, and the smallest group, day care and day services, which made up 9% of jobs in 2015.

About this data

In 2012 and 2013 all 152 councils in England provided an NMDS-SC return, but the coverage for each individual data item varied. For more information on the coverage, completeness and methodology of this data please see the Health & Social Care Information Centre website.

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