The minister for future borders and immigration has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake an independent review of adult social care and the impact that ending freedom of movement has had on the sector.
Kevin Foster has written to MAC chair professor Brian Bell requesting that the committee undertake an independent review of adult social care and the impact that ending freedom of movement has had on the sector.
He has also amended the usual commissioning approach, which requires the report to be laid in Parliament before it is made public, and is requesting copies of the review be made available to relevant individuals in No.10, DHSC and the Home Office 48 hours ahead of it being laid.
Mr Foster said his officials will work with the MAC to ‘determine the best way to share the report when it is ready’ and that the committee will be free to publish the report once the parliamentary process has been completed.
This comes after the government bosses pledged to commission a ‘timely and targeted review of adult social care’ during consideration of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020.
The government has pledged to look at the impact ending freedom of movement has had on the adult social care workforce (such as skills shortages) covering the range of caring roles in adult social care including care workers, registered nurses and managerial roles. As well as visa options for social care workers, the long term consequences for workforce recruitment, training and employee terms and conditions.
Mr Foster said the MAC should engage with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other appropriate parties such as Skills for Care (and their equivalents in the devolved nations) covering not only the above points but also to ensure the work complements the wider reform work being undertaken by DHSC.
He said DHSC will share information on wider policy development in relation to Adult Social Care. However, some information may still be under development or awaiting formal agreement and will need to be shared on a confidential basis.
Mr Foster said: ‘I ask the MAC to consider the above points and provide recommendations on how to address the issues which the sector is experiencing with the immigration system.
‘And to highlight, where they arise within the scope of the review, wider issues for the government’s consideration, such as employee terms and conditions.
‘The government will consider the recommendations and determine the appropriate course of action to take where it relates to reserved matters.
‘Where any recommendations relate to matters which are devolved, it will be the responsibility of the Scottish government, Welsh government or Northern Ireland executive to determine how these should be taken forward.
‘Unlike the usual commissioning process set out in the MAC framework document, because the commitment to this report was made by government to Parliament, I believe there is a need on this occasion to amend the approach slightly.
‘To account for the parliamentary process, which requires the report to be laid in Parliament before it is made public and given its cross-cutting nature, I am requesting copies be made available to relevant individuals in No.10, DHSC and the Home Office 48 hours ahead of it being laid before Parliament.
‘I would like to assure you the report will be embargoed and no details relating to the report will be made available before it is laid in Parliament.
‘This approach will not alter, or influence, the contents of the report, but rather, ensure a coordinated government response ahead of it being laid before Parliament.
‘In addition, this will also enable the necessary preparatory administrative action to be undertaken before it is laid. My officials will work with you to determine the best way to share the report when it is ready. Once the parliamentary process has been completed, the MAC will be free to publish as would be the case for any other report.
Mr Foster has requested that the MAC deliver the report by the end of April 2022.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO, Care England: ‘As the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, we are pleased that the minister for future borders and immigration, Kevin Foster, has asked the MAC to undertake an independent review of adult social care, and the impact the ending freedom of movement has had on the sector.
‘Over the coming months, Care England will continue to engage with the MAC and ensure that the voice of the adult social care sector and workforce is heard.’
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