The Director of Adult Social Care introduced the report.
· The Director of Adult Social Care thanked care workers for their continued hard work, and recognised the excellent work they have done and continued to do.
· The Chair, on behalf of the Commission, thanked care workers, and commented that the work of carers, especially in the last two years, had been well above what they had been paid to do; and that many of our relatives and friends had been kept safe and alive through their efforts, skill and care.
· The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Integrated Care System thanked care workers, and commented that there was a huge debt owed to unpaid carers; and that Bristol was not unusual to have challenges in recruitment and retention in the sector, although not complacent. She advised Members that the winter would be very challenging, although some things were beginning to work and a wide range of partners continued to look at the situation to find solutions, which was incredible; for example 40 partners attended a productive round-table discussion earlier that morning.
· Cllr Massey stated that when she accessed the system earlier in the year she found everyone professional, responsive, and helpful, and thanked the care workers.
· The Chair commended the report, and commented that it had good detail and helpful infographics.
· David Smallacombe, Chief Executive, Care & Support West explained the organisation represented care providers, both regulated and non-regulated services, and welcomed the partnership working the Council had been involved in with the providers. He advised the Commission that care providers particularly welcomed the conversations which had taken place to address issues that affected recruitment, such as COVID and related issuesand cost of living; and providers had been able to influence some change and Care & Support West supported this approach.
· The Director of Adult Social Care stated that there was a need to develop an action plan to respond to the challenges, to re-imagine social care for the future; that care partners were part of the solution; and that there was a need to be innovative and ensure the career paths within the sector were meaningful for people - in terms of pay, opportunities and development – and the work with the Ethical Care Charter and Proud to Care helped ensure this was the focus.
· There was a discussion about mental health, depression cited as a large factor for staff absence and reasons for leaving. Members were advised that counselling and psychological support was offered, butvaried across providers who had different approaches; that, with regard to wellbeing and work-life balance, working in the care profession offered flexibility, as it demanded a range of skills and choice of hours – this was promoted to attract people.
· The Deputy Mayor, Children Services, Education and Equalities advised Members that Thrive Bristol Mental Health ten year programme had been launched four years ago; and Thriving at Work Bristolhad been rolled out with funding secured from West of England Combined Authority. This included a website with a range of tools and resources around mental health.
· The Commission was advised by David Smallacombe (Care & Support West) that there was a programme of workshops that promoted staff-wellbeing providers were involved in; and that professionalisation was a significant factor for recruitment and retention, which it was acknowledged had not previously embedded across the sector, so there was a need for professional recognition and for the workforce to be better valued.
· The Commission was advised that it varied how long people waited for care services, and that there were 60-70 people on the ‘unable to source list for homecare’; some of those people were in a different service, but unable to move into permanent homecare; about two-thirds would be in a service and the others would be known and they would be prioritised based on risk. The position was better now, and everybody’s situation was known and assessed.
· The was a discussion on gaps in staffing and members were advised that it was difficult to accurately calculate and report on vacancies, that it depended on what factors were considered; and that there was a discrepancy between vacancies and number of places available which could be linked to insufficient number of staff. It was agreed that the vacancy level across the sector could be 10%+.
· There was a further discussion about workforce challenges in care homes and home care; and it was acknowledged that it had been a very difficult period for care workers, both in care homes and those who went into people’s homes. Members were advised that the workforce challenge experienced now was across all areas; that it had been dominantly in home care but other areas such as community-based care and supported living had huge challenges; and that there were a wide range of roles.
· The Commission was told that there was a need for a more strategic home care model which was locally focused and more efficient, and the Council would trial new technology to organise and manage in a more effective and efficient way; and that social care providers had been invited to sit on the Integrated Care Partnerships which was positive, and would significantly increase the voice of providers.
· There was a discussion about the impact of Brexit on the workforces, and Members were advised that the figures were unknown.
· Members noted the need to raise the profile and value of care workers and the Commission was advised that the White Paper included the way social care would be funded, but also included investment in the workforce.
That the report be noted.