HC Deb 16 April 2002 vol 383 cc916-8W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will estimate the total number of staff working in the(a) health sector and (b) social care sector with NVQ level II in each of the last five years for which figures are available; [45632]

(2) how many people in the care sector in each of the last five years (a) obtained National Vocational Qualification level II and (b) held National Vocational Qualification level II; and how many staff were working in the sector. [45622]

(3) what estimates he has made of the cost (a) to local authorities, (b) to health authorities, (c) to individuals and (d) in total of training care workers to NVQ level II. [45633]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 26 March 2002]: Although we collect data about the number of staff who work in local council's social services departments every year, information about the number of staff working in social care in the voluntary and private sectors has only been collected through ad-hoc surveys which look at specific service user areas. From this information we estimate that there are over one million people in the social care workforce.

We do not hold data on the "total" numbers of staff in either the health or social care sectors that hold their NVQ Level 2. Some data on the numbers of local council social services staff who have either already achieved their Care Level 2 NVQ, or who are working towards attainment of this qualification has been collected through the Training Support Programme (TSP) Grant since 1999. Other data on the numbers of social care staff who hold qualifications has been obtained though various ad-hoc surveys.

Data about the numbers of social care staff with NVQ Level 2 taken from the training support programme grant forms
1999–2000 2000–01 2001–02
Number Holding NVQ Level 2 at the beginning of the year 5,357 11,627 15,480
Number Achieving NVQ Level 2 during the year 3,004 4,595 1
1Data is not yet available on the numbers of staff who completed their NVQ Level 2 during 2001–02.

The above table shows the data about completion of Care NVQ Level 2 that has been collected through the Training Support Programme grant since April 1999. Although data was collected about the completion of NVQs prior to this date it was not split between the various levels.

The staff that have attained their NVQ Level 2s will be mainly employees of the local council social services department, but some may be working for voluntary or private social care employers who are contracted by the local council to provide statutory services.

In the report "Who Cares? A Profile of the Independent Sector Home Care Workforce" (which was produced in September 2000) it states that there were an estimated 121,500 home care workers and 5,000 home care managers working in the independent home care industry. Of the 1292 home care staff who responded to the survey, 8.2 per cent. held an NVQ Level 2.

In future, we are anticipating NVQ information to be available centrally on most healthcare staff in the form of the Electronic Staff Record. This system is being developed currently and is intended to be operational for all staff employed by the NHS in hospital and community health services from early 2005.

The National Care Standards Commission will be collecting data about both the number of staff who work in the services that they regulate, and the qualifications that staff and managers hold. We are presently considering what other systems can be implemented in order to collect data for the whole of the social care workforce.

The National Training Strategy "Modernising the Social Care Workforce" considers the cost of improving the qualifications of the social care workforce and in Appendix 5 it provides calculations showing the estimated costs of numbers of staff undertaking qualifications over the five year period 2000–05. However, these calculations do not give a breakdown of the cost per employer or individual. They consider the cost of staff who work in a particular client group area achieving a specific qualification.

Funding has been provided to help implement this Training Strategy with £2 million being disseminated through the National Training Organisation for Social Care (TOPSS) for 2001–02. This amount has been used to promote and embed Induction Training. There will be £15 million in the Training Strategy Implementation Fund for 2002–03 and it is intended to use these funds to enable various staff to undertake Induction Training; to compete the new Registered Managers NVQ Level 4 and to undertake Assessor, Verifier and Mentor training.