JS Consultants UK Limited is an independent company specialising in providing practical, effective and comprehensive outcome based education, learning and solution focused consultancy services to a diverse community of health and social care based employers, individuals and learners.
We are seen as an exemplar centre for health and social care qualifications and also offer a wide range of specialist bespoke courses. We also provide consultancy services to health and social care providers that include compliance with the Fundamental Standards, pre-inspection audits, business development and planning, the development of risk registers and business continuity plans, workforce development planning, the development of Quality Assurance systems, on-site management support/mentoring/coaching and Dementia Care Mapping.
My Co-director and I through our day-to-day and pro bono work, actively contribute to the boards and committees of sector specific stakeholders that include: Skills for Care (SfC) Board, SfC Qualifications and Standards Sub Committee, SfC Apprenticeship Strategy Board, SfC Apprenticeship Steering Group, SfC Audit and Risk Committee, SfC Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship Trialblazer Assessment Sub-Group, SfC Care Bill Learning & Development Programme Steering Group, National Skills Academy for Social Care: Endorsement Framework Review Panel, ACTAN, Social Care Commitment Steering Group, City & Guilds Industry Board for Health and Social Care.
Examples of more micro level partnership working, includes representation on the Board of The Moreland Trust (a social care charity that supports Direct Payment recipients of Afro Caribbean descent), and Black Country Partnership for Care (a partnership organisation comprising of care sector providers in the independent, voluntary and statutory sectors). We also support and work closely with the Dudley Centre for Independent Living, (self-help organisation run by and for its members, which comprises of sensory impaired and disabled people providing help and advocacy to support each other).
This level of networking and involvement with key partners in the development, design and delivery of learning enables us to better understand the workforce development and learning needs within the Sector, ensuring our services remain current, relevant and meets the needs of employers and learners with a fair degree of certainty and greatly reduced risk. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our services impact positively on the quality of care, support and lives of people who use services.
We have seen increased demand for Apprentices over the last 18 months, the demand for mandatory training has remained fairly stable and the area where we have experienced real growth is for consultancy services and bespoke courses in relation to the new regulatory and legislative requirements.
We anticipate that the need for qualifications, specialist training and especially CPD will increase over the next 10 years and one of the main reasons for this is the projected demand for adult social care services as the population grows and people continue to live longer with more complex care and support needs, such as dementia. The size of the adult social care workforce will have to increase significantly to meet this demand and it is predicted that by 2025 the sector will need up to a million extra workers.
We advocate a whole person approach to the delivery of personalised care and support and have adapted our education and learning programmes to routinely reinforce and disseminate the wide range of key government drivers that health and social care professionals are responsible for implementing. The need to work in a joined-up way is embedded in all our course programmes and delivery, and we actively challenge learners to consider and develop strategies to achieve coordinated care that is focused around the whole of a person’s needs.
The implementation of the Care Act 2014 will require significant change to workers roles and practice to meet new legal expectations. Commissioners and provider employers are planning for new roles and/or differing roles, skills mixes and capacity based on the requirements of the Act.
Our challenge as an education and learning provider is to work with the sector and its stakeholders to ensure the workforce of the future is sufficiently skilled, highly functioning and flexible to provide high quality care with dignity and compassion.
In response to the challenges faced by the sector, the new Skills for Care Board have worked hard to raise the profile of adult social care and the career opportunities it offers to help attract more people to work in the sector.
The majority of our learners are mature social care workers. I would estimate about a third of our learners over the last 18 months are new entrants to the sector and have chosen a career in social care as result of initiatives such as the Sector Route-way and the work Skills for Care have undertaken to support unemployed people to access careers within the sector.
We believe the endorsement framework is a major tool in ensuring education and learning providers fulfil the major role they have in shaping the health and social care workforce of the future.
The Endorsement framework was originally developed in response to increasing requests from service providers, commissioners and users of adult social care services for a process to support them to identify quality providers of social care learning and development.
To quote the NSA “Excellent care starts with the right learning and development”, to this effect their framework does not endorse individual products or programmes of education and learning. Rather it seeks to ensure endorsed providers can demonstrate effective leadership and have the right mix of systems, processes and staff, including associates, to ensure excellent adult social care vocational learning and development to meet the needs of the sector.
The framework was developed to incorporate key elements from existing generic quality marks and build on best practice in education and learning. It seeks to identify providers of adult social care education and learning who can develop and deliver programmes of learning that equips learners with the skills, knowledge and behaviours to deliver quality, compassionate care. Unlike other generic quality marks the NSA’s framework also requires applicants to demonstrate the impact these behaviours, skills and knowledge have on people in receipt of care and support.
The dimensions of the framework each identify critical elements of an effective provider of health and social care learning, in particular the importance for people designing, delivering and assessing learning programmes to be occupationally competent, hold appropriate qualifications and the current knowledge to meet sector expectations.
As an advocate for quality health and social care education and learning, we felt that this sector specific quality mark recognised and promoted excellence in adult vocational learning that positively impacts on the quality of care, support and lives of people who use services.
Central to our approach is excellence, professionalism and innovation, linked to the delivery of what is needed by employers, learners and other key sector stakeholders. We felt that this framework reinforced our company ethos and objectives and we made the decision to apply for recognition, which we achieved in September 2010. We then applied for and became one of the first health and social care education and learning providers to achieve the NSA’s Excellence Standard in 2011, which we successfully renewed in 2014.
Achieving accreditation has resulted in enquiries for education, learning and consultancy services from service providers that have obtained our details from the NSA’s on-line database. We have also seen an increase in commissioners of education and learning include the NSA’s Endorsed and Excellent accreditation as part of their criteria for selection.
We feel that the endorsement framework is sector specific and will help transform the culture of social care. This should ultimately result in improved quality of life outcomes for people who use services as well as ensuring the social care workforce are trained and recognised as valued professionals who make a vital contribution to society.
JS Consultants UK Limited