Craig, Susan Yvonne
Social care managers as staff developers: help or hindrance?
University of Southampton, School of Education,
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There are many challenges facing the social care sector. These include how to ensure a qualified workforce exists that meets registration requirements as well as supporting the ongoing development of that workforce. At a time when social care services are under pressure to continuously improve and change, there is an increased pressure on care staff to meet greater demands from service users. Given the labour-intensive nature of social care provision, the training of staff is a significant factor in the provision of a high-quality service. The spectrum of learning and development for care staff is considerable and this presents challenges for managers and organisations.
This thesis considers modern day social care provision with its diversity and challenges for those managing the delivery of a constantly changing care service where regulation is paramount and inspection regimes can significantly dictate the business need. Social care managers appear to deal with the demands of providing a service whilst meeting the development needs of staff. Balancing service needs with the need for staff to gain qualifications is an issue. Managers endeavour to overcome the challenges of releasing staff for training and development by considering diverse ways of delivering and accessing learning. The aim of this thesis therefore, is to assess whether social care managers could reasonably adopt a staff development role in addition to their care and other managerial responsibilities. The thesis also examines the perception of the managers and staff concerning the implementation of Government policies and aims to discover what impact this may have on the workplace. In seeking to understand what care staff and managers think about the expectations placed upon them what they say is clearly an important source of data. The use of interviews to gather primary data from a sample of care staff from the independent sector together with a review of secondary data in respect of learning and development research undertaken contributes to a clearer understanding of learning and development strategies adopted by managers. What emerges is that managers do require additional support to implement the learning and development spectrum required by the national minimum care standards and shifting trends in social care responsibilities, however, there is no single solution to the form of assistance required. As a result of this, a number of avenues for future action and recommendations for additional social care research are proposed.
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