Hft has warned that reducing investment in learning and development is having a detrimental effect on social care staff and the vulnerable adults supported by the sector.

The charity responded to a call from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) responsible for social care to inform its inquiry into the professionalisation of the social care workforce.  Hft cited figures from its recent Sector Pulse Check report which warned that 92% of providers were cutting spending on internal functions such as staff training, compared to 75% in the 2017/18 survey. A further 61% warned that they would need to make additional spending cuts in the near future, if their financial situation did not improve.

Billy Davis, Public Affairs and Policy Manager, said:

“Social care offers opportunities for varied and rewarding careers that can make a positive difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable adults in adults in society. It is absolutely right that it should be viewed as a career and not just a job.

“However, as funding pressures continue to mount, a growing number of providers find themselves having to reduce expenditure on internal functions such as learning and development. By stripping training back to the legally required minimum, there is the risk staff will be denied career progression and have their ambitions  squashed. This could also lead to suboptimal support for the people they support, as staff could potentially lack the specialist skills required to help these individuals live the best life possible.  

“However, despite the growing financial pressures, Hft has committed to ring-fencing our expenditure on learning and development in order to provide our staff with the exemplary learning and development opportunities they need to thrive. We recognise the importance of developing our staff, not only to encourage career progression, but to offer the best support possible to the people we support. This has been acknowledged externally by our silver Investors in People accreditation and recently Skills for Care recognised us as a Centre of Excellence. We were delighted to be able to share these examples of best practice with the APPG and we look forward to seeing the conclusions of their inquiry.”

Anyone interested in getting a flavour of support work can do Hft’s quiz at: www.hft.org.uk/jobs/what-is-support-work/support-worker-quiz/

Notes to editors

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About Hft

Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.

Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk

Information about learning disabilities

A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learn new skills
  • Live independently

For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance