All domiciliary care workers in Wales will need to be registered from 2020 before they can work in the social care sector, with adult residential care workers to follow in 2022, Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford has announced.
Currently, social workers, social work students, residential child care managers and workers, adult care home managers and domiciliary care managers are required to register in order to work in the sector.
The new arrangements for the registration of domiciliary care workers will be made possible by the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Bill, which is currently before the National Assembly. They will come into force in April 2017, if the Bill becomes law.
The Bill sets out a comprehensive system for the development and regulation of the workforce, requiring the commitment of individual workers, employers and regulators.
From 2020, the requirement to resister will be extended to all domiciliary care workers before they can work in the social care sector, with adult residential care workers to follow in 2022.
Professor Drakeford said: “Effective provision of social care is dependent on the quality of the social care workforce. A key aspect of this is the registration of workers.
“I believe it is appropriate to extend the requirement to register to domiciliary and adult residential care workers. These people are at the forefront of some of the most demanding and challenging frontline services. The public deserve assurance that such workers are well trained and fit to practise. People working in domiciliary care will need to satisfy these tests to enter the register.
“The domiciliary care workforce deserves the recognition, investment in training and support from their employers that registration brings so they have the skills and qualities necessary to provide good-quality social care in these roles.”
In recognition that registration places new requirements on the social care sector, the Minister has set out a provisional timetable for extending registration that will allow the sector sufficient time to prepare.
A three-year development programme for domiciliary care workers will start in April 2016 with the register opening in April 2018, requiring these workers to be registered by April 2020. The Welsh Government will set this ambition as one of the main priorities for the funds it provides to support training and development for the social care workforce.
For adult residential workers, the Welsh Government will establish a similar three-year development programme to start in April 2018 with the register opening in April 2020, requiring these workers to be registered by April 2022. The extra workforce information flowing from service regulation will be available early on in this process from April 2017.
Professor Drakeford added: “This will be a major step forward for social care workers in Wales and for the quality of care. I expect the sector to come together to support and drive this agenda forward. I have asked the Care Council for Wales to establish a cross-sector steering group to ensure our ambition is met, including representatives of the workforce and those in receipt of care.
“In addition to the development programme, we will be working with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales to create greater transparency in relation to the workforce through service regulation so public assurance can be increased in advance of mandatory registration. This workforce information will become available from April 2017.
“This is an ambitious programme that will significantly strengthen public assurance and professional development in the sector, delivered according to a timetable that allows the benefits to be reaped without risking a premature intervention that could destabilise vital services.”