• This project by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) sought to identify how COVID-19 related policy has impacted the adult social care workforce. 
  • The Health Foundation commissioned this work from the IES as part of a programme of work to better understand the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and government policy on the social care sector and its workforce.
  • With unprecedented focus on the adult social care sector and high mortality rates, this report comes at a key time to provide insight into a highly scrutinised sector and support the improvement of health and care outcomes.  

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) is an independent, international centre of research and consultancy. The Health Foundation commissioned IES in June 2020 to carry out research and produce a report on how government COVID-19 policy may have impacted the adult social care workforce. 

This comes at a time when adult social care has seen its role and significance highly scrutinised, with an increased level of interest and concern around the sector. Social care workers have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response and are one of the occupational groups at highest risk of COVID-19 mortality.

Report: Potential impact of COVID-19 government policy on the adult social care workforce 

The report focuses specifically on government policy which is likely to impact the workforce. This includes policy areas such as Test and Trace, the Action Plan for Adult Social Care, Statutory Sick Pay and the Care Home Support Package. The report aims to provide clarity and understanding of a poorly understood sector and promote behaviours and outcomes that could protect both workers and service users, particularly through Test and Trace. 

Key findings include: 

  • The adult social care workforce is diverse and fragmented, working in a complex sector with multiple models of ownership and ‘employment’, making it more challenging to develop and implement policies for the sector as a whole.  

  • Policies and government guidance introduced during the pandemic have been rushed and, as a result, are fragmented and lack clarity.  

  • The biggest concerns for adult social care workers are getting COVID-19, passing on the virus to family and friends and being able to survive on Statutory Sick Pay.  

  • More research needs to be carried out into the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the adult social care workforce including in communication and implementation of future policies.

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