Voyage Care is calling for social care reform in new manifesto

The leading specialist social care provider have launched their new ‘Fulfilling Lives for All’ manifesto, which sets out three fundamental factors that could transform the sector.

Voyage Care, who support 3,500 people across the UK with learning disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities and autism, launched the call for action at an event in Westminster chaired by Sir Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism.

Jayne Davey and Sir Robert Buckland

At the event, Jayne Davey introduced the manifesto, and detailed how Voyage Care’s experience has shaped the recommendations within it. In addition, industry experts including Simon Bottery, senior fellow at The Kings Fund, also spoke at the manifesto’s launch. Professionals in the sector grouping together to voice the improvements needed in social care, suggests authorities must act now to improve  the sector before it’s too late.

The three key takeaways from the manifesto include:

  • Establishing a new commissioner for adult social care with a legal mandate to promote and protect the rights of individuals relying on adult social care
  • Developing a consistent and efficient approach to how care is commissioned underpinned by a long-term plan which addresses the postcode lottery associated with accessing social care, improves sustainability and provides stability to unlock investment
  • Establishing a compulsory national register of adult social care workers to provide parity of esteem with the NHS and recognition that care is a highly skilled profession. A register will improve recruitment and retention as well as provide assurances to people receiving care and the public about workforce standards

Arguably, the point to improve recruitment and retention rates is the most important one. According to latest figures from The Kings Fund, vacancy rates are falling in social care, but slowly. Figures show between 2021-2022 and 2022/23, the vacancy rate fell from 10.7% to 9.9% and the number of positions available dropped from 165,000 to 152,000.

Following this, the research also shows that there was a continued gap between the vacancy rate in adult social care, the wider unemployment rate (3.9%), and the vacancy rate in the wider economy (3.4%).

Jayne Davey speaking at the manifestos launch event.

Jayne Davey, interim CEO of Voyage Care, has claimed that the reception of their organisations new manifesto is encouraging that change will happen in social care, but it can only occur if the government change their way of thinking.

‘The warm reception for our Fulfilling Lives for All manifesto was further evidence of the will within our sector to achieve meaningful change,’ Jayne said. ‘We are passionate about amplifying the voices of those we support, who as working age adults are all too often marginalised within the margin.’

Jayne added: ‘Much of the debate around adult social care continues to focus on older people, but a fresh approach is needed to meet the demands of this increasingly significant proportion of social care provision. We look forward to working with policy makers, politicians, and likeminded organisations to make this a reality.’

Images: Voyage Care 

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