Under my direction, a Cross-Departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group was established earlier this year in order to examine strategic workforce challenges in front-line carer roles in home support and nursing homes.
To this end, a 'Call for Submissions' was issued by the Department to relevant stakeholders in December 2021. Following receipt of these completed submissions in January, Department officials undertook a short-life scoping exercise to gather initial data and evidence on the nature and extent of the challenges in the sector to inform the structure and membership of this cross-departmental Group.
On completion of the scoping exercise, the inaugural meeting of this Group was held on 3rd March, 2022. At this meeting, the Terms of Reference for the Group, membership and action timelines were agreed. These Terms of Reference were published and are available on the Department’s website .
The Group has met four times to date and is presently working with key sectoral stakeholders in a structured programme of ongoing consultative engagements to further explore and define the issues, listen to stakeholder views, and identify approaches to respond to the strategic workforce challenges. As such the Group provides a forum for agreement on strategic approaches to address the workforce challenges in the sector.
Areas being considered by the Group include recruitment, retention, training, pay and conditions, and the career development of front-line carers in home support and nursing homes into the future.
The Group will develop a set of recommendations for my consideration outlining the key findings and a proposed action plan to support implementation of these recommendations which will include periodic monitoring of progress. The Group has committed to delivering this set of recommendations to me by September 2022.