Welcome to Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW)

Staff turnover and job vacancy rates are persistently high in UK social care. Understanding the drivers of staff retention and motivators of care staff is important to enable the sector to provide sustainable, high-quality services and meet increasing demand.

This project, which runs between April 2019 and March 2022, is funded by the Health Foundation Efficiency Research Programme, led by the University of Kent and supported by the strategic body for social care workforce development, Skills for Care. It aims to help social care providers, commissioners, regulators and policy-makers understand the specific organisational and individual drivers of staff retention in the social care sector by exploring:

  • What specific characteristics social care workforce have and how committed they are to their jobs compared to workers in other low-wage service industries?
  • Why there are differences in retention rates between social care providers and between social care and other low-wage service industries?
  • Why care workers decide to leave their job, and why some job leavers choose to leave the social care industry altogether?

We will answer these questions by analysing existing data from national surveys and large datasets, primarily: the UK Quarterly Labour Force Survey; the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings; the Employer Skills Survey; the National Minimum Dataset for Social Care (NMDS-SC); the Skills for Care survey of individual employers and personal assistants; and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) health and social care provider register.

As well as carrying out the data analysis, we will consult and work closely with adult social care stakeholders, including providers, care users, care workers, family carers, commissioners, regulators and policy makers. We will organise annual workshops across the country to gather views on emerging findings and generate examples of ‘good working conditions/quality jobs’ in the social care industry, and pathways to achieve these nationally.

The team brings together social policy researchers, health economists and labour economists from the University of Kent, University College London and City University:


Dr Florin Vadean (PSSRU, University of Kent)
Prof Shereen Hussein (PSSRU, University of Kent)
Dr Stephen Allan (PSSRU, University of Kent)
Dr Katerina Gousia (PSSRU, University of Kent)
Dr Agnes Turnpenny (PSSRU, University of Kent)
Ann-Marie Towers (CHSS, University of Kent)
Dr Eirini Saloniki (CHSS, University of Kent)
Prof Alex Bryson (Department of Social Science, UCL)
John Forth (Cass Business School, City University of London)
  • 1st Efficiency Research Programme (Round 3) Advisory Group meeting
The 3rd round of the Health Foundation Efficiency Research Programme awarded grants to six project teams to conduct research with focus on retention of health and social care staff; one of the projects funded being Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW). The first Advisory Group meeting took place on 10 October 2019 at the St Bride Foundation in London. The PIs of the six projects had the opportunity to discuss the methodological challenges faced by their respective projects with Anita Charlesworth (The Health Foundation), Candace Imison (Nursing and Midwifery Council), Heidi Grainger (Office for Manpower Economics), James Buchan (Queen Margaret University Edinburgh), Joe Hewton (The Health Foundation), Matthew Whittaker (Resolution Foundation), Peter Smith (Imperial College London; Chair), and Polly Pascoe (The Health Foundation). Dr Florin Vadean and Prof Shereen Hussein represented the RESSCW project. It was an excellent opportunity to share ideas with PIs from the other projects and receive valuable feedback from Advisory Group members. The Efficiency Research Programme Advisory Group will meet twice yearly during the lifetime of the projects, and provide expert input and guidance to support individual project teams. “Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW)” is part of the Health Foundation’s Efficiency Research Programme. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK. __________________ __________________
  • The Health Foundation speaks to Professor Shereen Hussein about the RESSCW project in this news piece 'Stemming the tide: retaining the social care workforce'
https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/newsletter-features/stemming-the-tide-retaining-the-social-care-workforce __________________
  • Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW) project – very productive 1st Steering Group Meeting
On 1st July 2019 the Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW) project had its first Steering Group meeting, hosted by the CASS Business School, City University of London. The project team met with Prof Sian Prof Sian Moore (University of Greenwich; Chair); Polly Pascoe (The Health Foundation), Colin Angel (UKHCA), Karolina Gerlich (NACAS), Dr Rekha Elaswarapu (Age UK), and Matthew Egan (UNISON). Further Steering Group members are Ricardo Rodrigues (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research), Will Fenton (Skills for Care) and Lynne Linehan (lay research advisor). The team presented the RESSCW project objectives, methodology and expected impact of and got very helpful feedback from Steering Group members. This will help refine research questions and methods, in order to achieve a stronger impact, better aligned with the needs of social care staff and providers. The Steering Group will meet another three times during the lifetime of the project (in 2020, 2021, and 2022), and advise the project team on delivering much needed evidence aimed at improving workforce retention and recruitment in the social care industry. “Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW)” is part of the Health Foundation’s Efficiency Research Programme. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

For more information about this project, please contact:

Dr Florin Vadean, Research Fellow, Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent, Canterbury

Prof Shereen Hussein, Associate Director, Personal Social Services Research Unit, University of Kent, Canterbury

You can also follow our progress on #resscw on the PSSRU twitter account: @pssru_kent

The RESSCW steering group brings together stakeholders and lay research advisors.

Karolina Gerlich, CEO and Founding Director, National Association of Care & Support Workers Ltd
Dr Rekha Elaswarapu, Special adviser, Age UK London and Board member, National Dignity Council
Will Fenton, Project manager - Analysis, Skills for Care
Professor Sian Moore, Director Work and Employment Research Unit, Greenwich Business School

 

“Retention and Sustainability of Social Care Workforce (RESSCW)” is part of the Health Foundation’s Efficiency Research Programme. The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.