Hft | Sector Pulse Check | Research

Sector Pulse Check


Hft’s annual Sector Pulse Check report provides a snapshot of the financial health of the learning disability social care sector and the impact of key challenges it has faced over the past year. We commission independent economics and business consultancy Cebr to produce the report, which is based on analysis of surveys completed by learning disability social care providers.

Our latest Sector Pulse Check report reveals that the learning disability social care sector is in an increasingly precarious position. Despite additional financial support from central government to weather the recent pandemic storm, and the promise of financial reform, the proportion of providers in deficit or seeing their surplus decrease has increased substantially over the past year, from 52% to 71%.

71% of providers are either in deficity with costs exceeding funding or their surplus has decreased
Rising wage bills are a key cost pressure for nearly all care providers. 
The financial pressure of rising utility bills has increased significantly. The number of providers who cite this as a main cost pressure has more than doubled in the past year.

Yet again, we have been told the most significant cost pressure for providers was rising wage bills, and in particular increases in the National Living Wage. While this will see many staff rightly paid more for the incredible work they do, it is concerning to note that 80% of providers do not believe the money they are paid by local authorities to deliver care will cover this cost, meaning they will have to foot the bill themselves.

At a time when demand for adult social care services is growing, the ability for our sector to respond is clearly compromised, and this has been further eroded by growing workforce challenges.

At any given time, on average 16% of positions in the learning disability social care workforce were vacant.
Due to staff vacancies, nearly three quarters of providers turned down new admissions to services. Over one third closed services.

What Hft is calling for

Fulfilling the potential of our sector, and realising the vision set out by this government’s commitment to ‘fix social care once and for all’, will transform the lives of millions. It is vital that escalating costs do not erode any progress made towards achieving this, so our sector is no longer fighting for sustainability, but thriving for the people we support, their families and our staff.

In order to achieve this we are calling for:

  • Additional funds from the Health and Social Care levy to be drawn down for social care to cover the costs of escalating costs
  • Greater clarity around how local authorities will pay fees which cover the real-term cost of living and encourage more individuals to work in the incredible social care sector.
A graphic depicting people signing a letter

We have joined voices with other organisations to amplify our calls to action in a letter to the Minister of State for Care, Gillian Keegan. You can read it below:

Read our joint letter

Download your copy of the full report below.

An image of the front cover of the Sector Pulse Check report

Download an Easy Read copy of our Sector Pulse Check report:

Easy Read report

Downloads

Sector Pulse Check for year 2021

The impact of the changes to the social care sector in 2021 (published April 2022)

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Sector Pulse Check for year 2020

The impact of the changes to the social care sector in 2020 (published March 2021)

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Sector Pulse Check for year 2019

The impact of the changes to the social care sector in 2019

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Sector Pulse Check for year 2018

The impact of the changes to the social care sector in 2018

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Sector Pulse Check for year 2017

The impact of the changes to the social care sector in 2017

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