Brexit and its impact on the social care workforce will come under the spotlight during a top regional conference next month.
Uncertainty surrounds the future of European workers following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union and the issue is likely to be discussed when the Independent Care Group holds its annual conference on 9 November.
There are approximately 80,000 EU nationals working in adult social care in this country. Social care continues to suffer from difficulties in recruiting staff with in an estimated vacancy rate of 5.4% in adult social care overall and 7.7% in domiciliary care services alone.
The current uncertainty surrounds whether existing workers will be able to stay in the UK. Only EU nationals with a right to permanent residence (gained after living in the country for five years) have guaranteed future status. Other EU nationals will be subject to the negotiations on Brexit.
There is also huge uncertainty over the future ability of social care providers to recruit from other EU countries when the country leaves the Union.
The Group’s chair, Mike Padgham, said: “Staff from other EU countries make a very important contribution to the social care workforce. Uncertainty over existing staff’s future and whether providers will be able to recruit from other countries as easily following Brexit, are causing anxiety within the sector at a time when staff recruitment and retention is a real big issue.
“Social care has well documented difficulties in recruiting and keeping staff and Brexit is already starting to compound those difficulties further. Our conference in November will address many of these issues and at the same time give delegates the tools they need to get the right people and, most importantly, keep them.”
The conference has as its theme recruitment and retention, with keynote speaker Neil Eastwood, founder of award-winning recruitment experts Sticky People, giving advice on how to get the right staff and keep them.