Updated Changes to Learning and Development Funding for Adult Social Care

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has recently outlined initiatives to bolster the adult social care workforce across England, aligning with the broader agenda for sector reform.

Enhancements to the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) for 2023-24

A significant update is the augmentation of the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) for the latter part of the 2023-24 fiscal year. This enhancement aims to advance the adult social care workforce reform goals set by the government, specifically targeting frontline care workforce training. The uplift involves financing for existing WDF-endorsed qualifications and learning modules, ensuring an immediate impact on training capabilities.

Strategic Plans and Future Funding

Reflecting on the “People at the Heart of Care” white paper from December 2021, the government delineated a decade-long strategy for adult social care, promising a supported learning and development agenda.

April 2023’s “Next Steps to put People at the Heart of Care” confirmed the execution of this plan, emphasizing funding allocations for:

  • The new Level 2 Adult Social Care Certificate qualification, earmarked to become the foundational requirement for incoming care workers.
  • A comprehensive array of learning and development opportunities, covering vital areas such as healthcare intervention, learning disabilities (including autism), dementia care, and leadership.
  • Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for registered nurses and other qualifying professionals.
  • Enhancement of digital skills and the introduction of a new leadership qualification, drawing from the updated Digital Skills Framework by Digital Social Care.

Transitioning from WDF to a New Funding Structure in 2024-25

The transition plan indicates a phased reduction of the WDF, with 2024-25 marked as a pivotal year. Funding will be accessible exclusively for ongoing learning engagements initiated on or before March 31, 2024, provided completion and certification are finalized by March 31, 2025. This provision ensures current employers are not left financially disadvantaged. Conversely, new courses or qualifications beginning from April 1, 2024, onwards will not qualify for WDF support.

From 2024-25, reimbursement claims for the WDF will be processed directly through Skills for Care, with large national organizations given an opportunity to apply through an upcoming tender. This period will also see continued support for user-led organizations, individual employers, and personal assistants, pending confirmation from DHSC.

Introduction of the Adult Social Care Training and Development Fund

A new focal point will be the inauguration of the Adult Social Care Training and Development Fund in the fiscal year 2024-25, set to replace the current WDF mechanism and aimed at reimbursing eligible employers in England for training expenditures. This fund will demand documented proof of expenses, with a comprehensive guide now accessible on the GOV.UK site detailing eligibility, applicable training modules, availability timelines, and reimbursement rates.

Moving Forward

Employers seeking clarity on how to navigate these changes, especially in regards to making claims, can reference the newly released guidance or reach out directly via ASCreimbursement@dhsc.gov.uk for more detailed inquiries.

This transition underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing the adult social care workforce’s skill set and overall quality of care, reflecting a structured approach to professional development within the sector.

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