Workforce Recruitment and Retention Survey – Interim Report

Today, Tuesday 14 October, 2021, the findings of the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Survey have been released as a summarised report.

Scottish Care issued a survey to gain an up-to-date picture of the top issues faced by the workforce with the objective of gaining data on recruitment and retention of staff at both the national scale as between care services; the level of sustainable delivery and financial viability of services for providers; feedback on what it working and what is not. We noted there is not just room for improvement, but a dire need for a change in commissioning and procurement, improved career pathways and better valuing of the distinct work that the social care workforce provide.

The findings from the survey show widespread difficulty across the independent, third and voluntary sectors, shared by members and non-members alike. The current workforce crisis is the worst in recent years, and the findings of the report highlight as much: recruitment and retention is increasingly problematic and cannot be sustained, not least attributable to high costs involved in trying to attract individuals to the sector, ineffective methods of advertising and no guarantee that those invited to attend interviews even show up.

The report also details findings related to contract types and hours worked as well as sickness and absence levels. Absence levels are significantly higher for the care sector than health, and the sector must continue to mitigate the impact that COVID is having on the health and wellbeing of the workforce.

Social care workforce issues are complex, and the issues have never been as serious as they are today. With recruitment and retention problems compounded by Covid and Brexit, many providers of care in care at home and nursing homes will struggle to keep going through the coming autumn and winter without urgent action to support the sector. There is evidently more work that needs to be done in partnership to ensure that clear pathways into social care recruitment are established.

The report does not detail immediate solutions but captures the data we believe necessary to initiate and seriously push for change in the sector so that delivery of care can be sustained, where there are better wages, terms and conditions, and a proper valuing of the workforce and sector in Scotland.

Climate Change and Social Care Collective – Hot Report 1

On August 11th 2021, The Health and Social Care Academy (a programme of the ALLIANCE) and Scottish Care held the first of a series of roundtables – ‘The Climate and Social Care Collective.’ The roundtable was developed to highlight the role that the social care sector can play in the climate change debate. Social care has been largely absent from climate discussions, and we believe national attention must be urgently given to achieve a sustainable development strategy in social care in Scotland, which embeds sustainable environment concerns and supports inclusive climate action. There is clear need for the social care sector to be involved in the debate, given how the sector is both affected by and contributes to climate change.

The first session was focused on understanding what is currently happening in terms of the social and wider policy context. A group of panelists brought their expertise and knowledge to the forum with presentations, followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Scottish Care National Director, Karen Hedge.

Christine McGregor, unit head with the Directorate for Mental Health and Social care at the Scottish Government, discussed the current priorities of Scottish Government and some of the targets in place to rebuild and recover greener, with focus on equality and wellbeing. There was recognition of the point of shift that we are seeing within the social care sector, and the importance of implementing the recommendations of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care which will feed into the creation of a National Care Service.

Anna Beswick, Programme Manager from Sniffer (a sustainability charity) covered climate resilience, adaptation, and the impact a changing climate has, not least on the more vulnerable people in society. Learning to live with the unavoidable impacts, what some of the barriers to action are and understanding how to empower people to take action are all key elements to embedding climate change action in policy and practice.

Lastly – though certainly not least – Katie Gallogly-Swan, Board Members from the Scottish Women’s Budget Group highlighted the parallels between social care and climate change which has resulted in them both being historically overlooked within policy, with points echoing Christine and Anna on how we have to mitigate, adapt, and support the communities most affected by climate change.

Following presentations, attendees were invited to breakout rooms for further discussions on what people, organisations and the sector can start to do to take action and engage with those who may not yet feel that climate issues are relevant to them. Indeed, there is some way to go – known challenges include social injustice, promoting buy-in to the sector at large, lack of information and awareness, staff capacity, sustainable transport and demonstrating the real work going on behind the scenes.

We are looking forward to the next panel session on Wednesday 15 September from 10:00 – 12:00 which will be largely innovation and solution focused. We look forward to welcoming our panelists for the session and invite anyone interested in the subject to attend!

Care Home Awards 2021 – entry deadline extended!

The deadline to enter the  2021 Care Home Awards has now been extended to close of play on Friday 17 September 2021.

Scottish Care would like to invite you to enter your company, staff and residents for the Care Home Awards 2021. Help us recognise the work of fantastic staff and providers whilst also giving positive visibility to this often neglected sector.

There are 13 award categories which you can enter in:

  • Ancillary & Support Staff Award
  • Nutrition & Eating Well Award
  • Meaningful Activity Award
  • Training, Learning & Staff Development Award
  • Emerging Talent Award
  • Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Management & Leadership Award
  • Palliative & End of Life Care Practise Award
  • Nurse of the Year Award
  • Carer of the Year Award
  • Specialist Service/ Unit of the Year Award
  • Care Home Service of the Year Award
  • Positive Impact Award

Find out more about the awards and submit your nomination here.

National Care Service Consultation with Scottish Care Members

Scottish Care will be holding a number of events over the next few weeks to consult and directly engage with members on the topic of the National Care Service.

From these events, we hope to gather insights and views from Scottish Care members to allow us to officially respond to the National Care Service Consultation held by the Scottish Government. More details on these consultation events can be found below.

Care Home Members – Tuesday 14th September, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm (instead of our usual care home surgery)

Care at Home Members – Wednesday 22nd September, 9:00 am – 11:00 am

Details to join these events will be available on the Members Area.

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of social care services. Last year, the Scottish Government commissioned an independent review of adult social care to identify ways of consistently delivering high-quality services for everyone who needs them.

The review recommended the creation of a new National Care Service, with Scottish Ministers being accountable for adult social care support. The Scottish Government now have a consultation to seek views on the creation of a community health and social care service that supports people of all ages, whatever their needs may be.

Find out more about the National Care Service Consultation here.


Job Opportunity – Research Officer



£25,000 per annum PRO RATA – 28 hours per week

Scottish Care wishes to appoint a Research Officer to work alongside the Workforce Policy and Practice Lead in the delivery of ethnographic, qualitative and co-design research for Healthier Working Lives (HWL), an exciting new collaborative project funded by the UKRI’s Healthy Ageing Social, Behavioural and Design Programme.  This is a temporary post, covering a two year and five-month period between October 2021 and March 2024.  This is a part-time post (28 hours per week), based from home with the regular requirement to attend meetings and events throughout Scotland.  Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the post may require exclusive home working for an unspecified period.

This post will include engagement with participants, internal and external partners and other key stakeholders, project logistics, management and conduct of fieldwork, analysis of ethnographic and qualitative data and the dissemination of results verbally and in writing to a range of audiences and stakeholders. In addition, you will work with academic colleagues from the Edinburgh College of Art, Universities of Edinburgh and Reading, King’s College London and partners Creative Venue, Codebase, Legal and General, ACRC and the HWL Knowledge Network (including experts from academia, NHS, social care, and business and innovation) to meet HWL’s overarching aims and objectives.

Scottish Care is based in Ayr but works across Scotland as the representative body for the largest group of health and social care sector independent providers delivering residential care, day care, care at home and housing support. Working on behalf of a range of providers, Scottish Care speaks with a single unified voice for members and the wider independent care sector, at both a local and strategic level.  Our vision is to shape the environment in which care services can deliver and develop the high-quality care that communities require and deserve.

This post is key to the continued development and overall success of this high-profile organisation. The post holder will work with a complex variety of partners and stakeholders involved in the development and operation of the organisation.  He/she must be able to communicate and maintain credibility at all levels; and understand partnership working.

Previous experience of working in policy or research roles with tangible evidence of impact is essential.  Experience of working in the health and social care sector and a clear understanding of Scottish Care’s role and objectives is highly desirable.

The post holder must have excellent interpersonal skills.  They must be able to communicate effectively, confidently, and clearly in a positive and open way with all stakeholders, demonstrating the ability to identify and understand internal and external audience needs and adapt style and language to meet them.

To request a recruitment pack,  please contact Laura Bennie (Office Manager & Executive PA) at [email protected]  Closing date 12 NOON on FRIDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2021.  Interviews will be held virtually.  If you have not been called to interview by 1st October 2021, please assume you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Job Opportunity – Independent Sector Lead: Dumfries & Galloway




Health and Social Care Integration

£44,494 per annum – 17.5 hours per week (pro-rata)

Fixed term contract funded till March 2022

Do you have an interest in improving the quality of care, can you COLLABORATE, INNOVATE AND COMMUNICATE, and would you like to join a successful, committed and highly motivated team? This could be the opportunity you have been waiting for.

We are seeking to engage an Independent Sector Lead to support the Integration of Health and Social Care in Dumfries & Galloway.  Hosted by Scottish Care and working closely with care providers and partners, the post involves ensuring sector involvement in the delivery of the integrating of health and social care in Scotland’s HSCPs

The post holder must be highly motivated, be able to use initiative, possess excellent communication and networking skills, demonstrate success and experience working at strategic level with policy makers, providers, regulators, people supported by services and carers. Qualifications and experience at a senior management level would be a significant advantage.

The post holder will be expected to create and support significant collaborations across the independent care sector while contributing to the development of new care pathways which will result in the delivery of improved outcomes for people who access care and support. The post holder will ensure the Independent sector’s contribution is fundamental to integrated services and transformational change and be able to evidence their impact. The role requires considerable and skilful collaboration with our key partners in the NHS, Local Authority, Carers, third sector organisations and other forums.

The post is home-based with travel where necessary, based and is hosted by Scottish Care.

To request an application pack, please contact Tracy Doyle at Scottish Care by email at [email protected].

Closing date 12 pm on Thursday 23rd September 2021.  Interviews will be held by video conference – 7thor 8th October 2021 (to be confirmed).

Sepsis Awareness Webinar – 16 September

September is Sepsis Awareness Month, with World Sepsis Day on 13th September

Scottish Care is proud to be supporting Sepsis Awareness Month and World Sepsis Day. We are delighted to invite Colin Graham, the Chief Operating Officer from Sepsis Research to join us for a webinar on Thursday 16th September at 2:00 pm.

We encourage members to join this webinar to find out more and raise awareness about sepsis.  Details to join this webinar are available on the Members Area of this website.

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection that accounts for around 50,000 deaths in the UK annually, more than bowel and breast cancer combined.

Sepsis can kill a previously healthy person in hours – taking the lives of five people on average in the UK every hour. It can strike anyone without warning, it’s very important that people know the symptoms and seek urgent medical help if they suspect sepsis.


National Care Service Consultation – Partners for Integration Roadshows

During our Partners for Integration Roadshows, we will have a session on the National Care Service with colleagues from the Scottish Government.

The purpose of these sessions is to allow the Scottish Government to gather feedback from attendees on the creation of the National Care Service.

Find out more about the Scottish Government’s National Care Service Consultation here.

Find out more about the Partners for Integration Roadshows here.

Documents relating to these consultation exercises are available via the buttons below.

Scottish Care will also be holding events with both care home and care at home members on this. Find out more here.

Media release: Social Care Workforce Recruitment & Retention

Scottish Care research highlights concern over social care workforce recruitment and retention

Scottish Care issued a Workforce Recruitment and Retention Survey between July and August 2021 to better understand the challenges facing the social care sector. 251 providers and organisations from the private, third and voluntary sectors responded. Some of most significant findings as areas for immediate action are summarised below:

Worryingly, almost 90%  of respondents stated recruitment and retention was problematic for them.

– Ongoing recruitment is a massive cost to the sector as providers are advertising for openings on a rolling basis. This is unsustainable. More than a third of respondents recruit weekly, while an additional third stated that they recruit as needed – this was stated to be daily. Figures were higher in Care at Home and Housing Support services (almost 75% recruit on a daily and weekly basis), but the problem is overall significant across the sector.

– When asking what routes work best to recruit, the overall consensus was ‘word of mouth’ (52.8%), however comments state that despite using many options including recruitment websites, that none are really working well.

– There is a concerningly high non-attendance rate of those invited to interview, almost 40% of those invited to interview simply do not show, causing a huge drain on our social care sector.

– Almost a quarter of staff leave within the first 3 months of joining an organisation.

– This drop-off rate is slightly higher in the care at home and housing support sector, suggesting greater work is needed to support individuals coming into the sector. Low attrition rates has significant impact on organisations, with almost 70% of organisations stating there is impact and 73.8% when looking specifically at CAH + HS providers.

– The number of hours that people are working are markedly high at the moment, however there is increasing pressure on staff to maintain the same quality of care while working longer hours. Almost 50% of organisations told us that their staff are working more than 35 hours per week.

– There are currently high sickness and absence levels at the moment in the sector. The reasons for this are mixed with reasons cited including anxiety/depression, stress, exhaustion, family related (including childcare). This has had some degree of impact, felt by almost ¾ of providers. In reality, over 40% of providers report sickness levels being higher than the pre-pandemic average, and the sickness absence level known is estimated to sit at 16% nationally, based on reports from providers.

– Significantly, when asked whether providers felt confident they could continue the same level of care over the next 12 months if nothing were to change, there was little consensus: 44.2% said they would not be able to sustain current levels of care, 22.7% were neutral and 33.2% agreed.

These findings are alarming and must be addressed imminently, not least through valuing the critical role which our skilled social care staff play in supporting the people of Scotland to stay safe and well. It is a highly critical role to the functioning of our society and urgent work must be done both to improve pathways into the sector and to implement the findings of the Fair Work Commission and encourage staff retention.

A fuller summary of the findings will be published next week, and an in-depth report on the current state of the workforce will be released ahead of the National Care Service consultation.

If you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected]

Older people Go4Gold in Perth and Kinross

Older people in Perth and Kinross have shown their Olympic spirit by taking part in a care home challenge event to highlight the importance of physical activity.

Hollywood actor Brian Cox and Deputy First Minister John Swinney are among those who sent their good wishes to residents from care homes and day centres across the region taking part in the ninth annual Go4Gold event in Perth and Kinross.

Around 400 residents from 30 care settings have been trying their hand at various games and challenges throughout the past week.

The event has previously taken place at Bells Sports Centre in Perth but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each care setting have run their own in-house Go4Gold event. This has meant that a larger number of residents could participate and experience the fun and excitement of Go4Gold.

The participants took part in various physical challenges including a golf putting challenges, skittles picking up objects of nature and a goal scoring target.

Each care setting also enjoyed a video introduction to their events welcoming them and getting them into the spirit with a warm up activity and an Olympic coverage style studio chat.

In the weeks before the event, staff and residents from each care home also created posters reflecting this year’s Go4Gold theme of ‘Walking with Nature’.

An award ceremony was held virtually on Tuesday, 31 August where all the participants were presented with certificates and medals for the teams. Winning teams also received a trophy. The virtual ceremony also included filmed messages from actor Brian Cox and Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

Go4Gold was organised by the Perth & Kinross Care Home Activity Network (CHAN), in partnership with Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, Scottish Care, Live Active Leisure, Paths for All, the third sector and local care homes.

The event aims to increase physical activity levels for all care home residents in a fun and meaningful way.

Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership Falls Service Manager Carolyn Wilson said, “The past 18 months have been particularly challenging for all of our care homes. The usual annual care home games challenge Go4Gold held at Bells Sports Centre was impossible but we wanted to still recreate Go4Gold, particularly with the 2020 Olympics running this summer.

“It’s fantastic to see so many homes participating and the residents really entering into the competitive spirit with enthusiasm and excitement. Go4Gold demonstrates that everyone can exercise in some way and offers a lasting legacy promoting physical activity. It goes to prove that even the frailest in our society can come together, participate in physical activity and above all have fun.”

Gordon Paterson, Chief Officer of the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, said, “Given the difficulties and challenges our care homes have had to overcome, delivering the competition this year was really important to us.

“It’s been fantastic to see everything they have been getting up to and the energy with which they have approached the competition. While it has been a challenge to bring it all together in a safe and appropriate manner, the enthusiastic and positive response we have seen really goes to show that with the right support in place, we can empower people of any age to stay healthy, active and involved in maintaining their quality of life.”

“It’s great that so many of our Care Homes and Residents are taking part this year, especially given the prolonged period of uncertainty and unprecedented challenges that out Homes have faced across the last 16 months due to COVID-19. Care home staff have been fantastic in stepping up an enabling so many people to take part in the activities and it really is a testament to their compassion and dedication that we have been able to involve nearly 400 residents from all across Perth and Kinross in this year’s competition.”