Scenario: A sunny outlook… but is social care in the shade?

UK remains within European Economic Area

‘Soft Brexit’ means the UK remains within European Economic Area. The economy performs strongly and retail and service sector jobs are in good supply. Restrictions are made on the number of unqualified EEA migrants.

The NHS is set to receive more funding in order to reduce the number of UK and EU clinicians moving to jobs overseas.

Progress on integrated health and care remains patchy, however, cross-sector investment is helping to make care homes more sustainable, leading to specialist staff being recruited into care homes. It is also starting to generate more attractive salaries and careers (e.g. care coordinators).


The gap between demand for and the supply of carer workers would increase. The care sector would continue to compete with other sectors, such as retail, whilst immigration restrictions would reduce the supply of new employees.

Informal carers (i.e. family and friends) would have to take on additional caring responsibilities. Stronger peer networks may be created to support this, but it would still increase the pressure on carers.

The plan to increase NHS funding risks opening up a greater split with social care, but a co-ordinated approach to recruitment for the whole system could have the potential to build a more flexible workforce, such as care co-ordinators.

The increase in self-funders would lead to a growth in personal assistants and self-employed carers which could bring new people into the sector.


This scenario presents opportunities to develop more attractive careers. The care co-ordinator role could retain staff by enabling them to grow their skills and become ambassadors in the sector.

People could move into care roles later. A ‘Care Next’ scheme could fast-track older workers looking for a career change. There is a risk that the level of pay offered would not compete with other sectors.

This scenario could expand the number of community based smaller ‘micro-providers’, led and managed by local carers and their peers.


Incentivise and reward the care ‘workforce’ – including volunteers and unpaid carers.

This could include: tax relief, child care vouchers and pension allowances for unpaid carers, along with discounts on travel, retail and leisure activities. It could also include supporting communities to augment the pool of capacity to support local people.

Develop and market a wider range of care roles that can fit around the lives of people

That can fit around the lives of people who want a ‘portfolio career’, where they do several different paid roles, including part-time care work. ‘On demand’ roles could also be developed such as rapid response support when someone has a fall, providing work opportunities for people with other work and family commitments. The barriers created by inflexible employment patterns could be reduced, for example, by supporting carers with limited literacy skills to use supportive technology.

Change organisational cultures in order to attract and retain staff.

Job descriptions could give a more realistic sense of day-to-day activities; group interviews could test personal interaction skills; and it may be appropriate to move away from written applications.