Scenario: Weathering the storm

UK leaves European Economic Area

There has been prolonged economic uncertainty and big employers such as major foreign-owned industries are scaling down their UK operations.

Whilst successful care models are emerging where there is a history of integration work, most areas are too focused on managing day-to-day pressures to follow their example.

There remains a commitment to invest in skills in order to plug the skills gaps likely to be left by a clamp-down on immigration; with big expansion of apprenticeships and workplace qualifications.

A failing economy has narrowed the employment choices for low-skilled workers, stemming the flow out of care into other sectors like retail. However, falling migration has reduced the supply of staff to the care sector.


This scenario could lead to more people who would otherwise choose to work in sectors such as retail, joining the care workforce. While this may be positive, there is a risk that they will not hold the values and skills required to succeed in the care sector.

Furthermore, there would be a significant reduction in migrant labour, which will particularly impact on London and the South East which is very reliant on this source of labour.


This scenario is likely to see an increase in the number of personal assistants, attracting different types of people into the profession.

The NHS would be more involved in providing social care, and its strong brand could be used to attract new workers.

The closure of care homes in this scenario could lead to different kinds of community-based provision emerging, such as more supported living and homeshare schemes, helping to retain existing, and attract new, staff.

In this scenario, more would need to be done to promote the user voice and to ensure co-production of services takes place.


Ensure there is a strong focus on values in training and recruitment

with commissioners and employers supported to be more flexible in their thinking about the shape of the workforce, and focusing on practical outcomes for service users. A national user-led training programme could be set up led by service users to support values- and outcomes-focused recruitment and training. As part of this, apprenticeships need to focus more on developing people’s ‘softer’ skills and accentuate the wellbeing-focused aspects of providing care, in addition to the formal skills, to attract a new wave of younger people to the profession.

Grow skills development programmes and attract care workers from overseas

(as the NHS does with nursing) to counteract any fall in the available EU workforce should the Brexit deal lead to this. This could involve, for instance, having joint NHS and social care recruitment programmes to find workers outside the EU.