We work for Practice Solutions Limited, and have been commissioned by Denbighshire County Council, acting on behalf of the North Wales Workforce Board.
Solving challenges with recruitment, retention and training of North Wales’ social care and health workers:
• Shortages of suitably qualified workers can mean there are challenges making sure people receive the care and support they need and want in the right place and at the right time.
• Some Care Providers have to use temporary staff from staffing agencies to fill the gaps, but this can be expensive and may not provide the consistent relationships which people value.
• Citizens who are looking to employ agencies or personal assistants with their own funds or using direct payments can struggle to find and retain the right workers.
Our project will research these challenges and consider alternative solutions to them. It is being funded by the Welsh Government (Foundational Economy Challenge Fund) and will run to March 2021.
We want to work in partnership with key stakeholders (citizens who need care and support and their families; health and social care workers, employers, and commissioners) to
Build a case for change to the way workers are employed and
Develop a proposed solution, which may involve creating a new organisation.
The focus is on how staff should be attracted to the profession, trained, employed, supplied and retained.
We will set up a reference group of people from diverse backgrounds, drawn from these stakeholder groups and representing the different counties of our region.
The group will ‘meet’ online/ by telephone conference for the foreseeable future and will guide and support the project throughout:
Defining the challenges and what works well from different people’s perspectives;
Considering the benefits of alternative options aimed at solving the challenges.
Understanding the causes and impact of staff shortages
We will work with the reference group and our commissioners to plan whether and how to gather the information to answer the following questions:
• What works well in recruiting for permanent and temporary roles in health and social care?
• How do employers (including Direct Payment Recipients) manage staff shortages?
• How much do employers spend on recruitment, retention initiatives and temporary staffing each year?
• Are there different staffing challenges in different services or areas of North Wales?
• Are some roles harder to recruit and retain staff in than others?
Note: our focus is on workers who provide care and support to adults and/or disabled children (but not those working in wider services for children and families).
We will use this information to write a business case for an alternative approach to tackling these challenges in north Wales.
Proposing an alternative approach
We know there is already much good practice across the region and are keen to learn from
and build on that as well as looking at models from elsewhere, including (but not limited to):
• Co-operatives (which might include workers, citizens and/or employers as members) – or a regional organisation to support local co-operatives
• Arms-length/ Non-profit staffing agency or staffing bank models
• Alternative models, e.g. mechanisms for pooling direct payments
We will identify, appraise and engage widely on these options. We will then draft a business model, which will test the commercial viability of the preferred option, and outline its recommended vision, structure, governance and strategic plan.
What about Coronavirus?
The project was agreed prior to the Coronavirus crisis becoming a significant issue in the UK. The crisis creates challenges for carrying out this project: many people are busy, unwell or stressed, and we cannot meet face-to-face. However, lockdown also creates opportunities to connect in new ways and the current pressures are promoting bold thinking and innovation, on which we are keen to build. Covid-19 has highlighted how much we all depend on the health and social care workforce, increasing the urgency of this project.
If you want to find out more about the project or get involved, please contact:
Rhian: email@example.com or