Latest Public Sector News


Staggering 25% drop in council-based social care workforce

England’s adult social care workforce has majorly shrunk every year over the past five years, with the number of jobs dropping by a staggering 25% overall since 2011, figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) have shown.

A new report summarising workforce trends in the struggling sector shows the number of jobs fell by nearly 40,000 concerning council-based services exclusively. The organisation’s figures also revealed a consecutive year-on-year drop of around 10,000 jobs since 2011.

Between 2014 and 2015 specifically, around two-thirds of councils (101 of 152) reduced the number of people working directly for them, with the majority shrinking staffing by over 5%.

The top reason for the dwindling workforces was restructure, which 50 out of the 75 responding councils cited as a major factor in cutting around 8,500 jobs. This was followed by outsourcing, cited by 21 councils for almost 6,000 jobs, and staff redundancies, accounting for nearly 3,000 jobs.

Stephen Jobling, responsible statistician for the HSCIC report, said: “Today's report shows that the number of jobs in adult social services based in councils continues to fall. Compared to the previous year, almost half of councils (65 of 152, or 43%) saw a reduction of more than 5% of social care jobs in 2015. For some councils though, the picture is somewhat different, with 27 councils seeing council-based jobs increase by more than 5%.

“I hope that the information within the report will be useful to both councils and other organisations who provide adult social services on behalf of councils to those who need care and support.”

In a statement sent to PSE, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, the LGA's community wellbeing spokesperson, said significant pressures on councils, despite attempts to protect frontline staff, meant overall staffing numbers had dropped by around 40% since 2010-11. She argued that the difference between the overall figure and the 25% reduction in the care workforce proved "councils have done their best to minimise the impact of these funding cuts".

“Councils will have focused on reconfiguring teams to ensure service stability and will have sought to retain the most experienced staff. Some of the jobs lost in adult social care will have been subject to further outsourcing and not lost entirely," Seccombe added.

“While recent measures announced for social care will go some way to addressing the problems facing adult social care funding, concerns remain that future years will still be extremely challenging, particularly the next two.”

She also stressed the need for adequate funding going forward given councils' duties under the Care Act, but acknowledged that there are opportunities presented by integration and devolution to "provide services in a different way".

The president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Ray James, agreed that today's figures are the "inevitable consequence" of funding cuts of £4.6bn over the last five years, despite "ever increasing need" for care services.

Today’s statistics also highlighted the stark and longstanding gender imbalance in the profession, with the vast majority (82%) of the jobs occupied by female workers, an estimation which remains unchanged since 2011.

Care England had already criticised this in September, arguing that more male carers are needed to attend to the new and changing demands of an ageing male population.

Its chief executive, Professor Martin Green, told BBC Radio 4 at the time that the government should be “much more systematic” in its approach to recruit men into frontline elderly care roles, making sure this push for gender diversity starts at school.

He added: “We have an ageing population and a lot of people who receive care into old age now are men. The majority of carers are women. When it comes to personal care in particular, some men prefer this to be done by a male rather than female.”


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Building a more diverse society

05/03/2018Building a more diverse society

Karl Wilding, policy director at the National Council for Voluntary Organis... more >
Developing our future leaders

05/03/2018Developing our future leaders

Kerry Bishop, apprenticeship and qualification development manager at the L... more >


Keeping London safe

05/03/2018Keeping London safe

Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), spea... more >

the raven's daily blog

Apprenticeship levy – five myths busted

05/03/2018Apprenticeship levy – five myths busted

On the first day of National Apprenticeship Week 2018 (NAW 2018), the director of the National Apprenticeship Service, Sue Husband, challenges some of the key myths around the... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >