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What's uniquely topical/trending for HR in the Housing/Social Care/Support Sector at the moment please? (apart from Supreme Court judgement on NMW)

As a candidate for a final stage interview for a HR Director in the housing/social care/support sector would anyone be happy to share any insight into what's trending/topical for HR and the senior leadership teams in-sector, but which may not apply to other sectors?  Obviously the implications of the Supreme Court judgment in the MENCAP case is relevant, as is recruitment and retention post pandemic, but is there anything else that I'm missing? Or is the question, what are the sector issues for returning to the workplace post pandemic?  All input/guidance gratefully received!

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  • Hi Jo, I recently left a HR role in the social care sector. I think a key issue is engagement and employee value. The company I was working are based in the private sector providing care places to children with special needs, they worked tremendously hard throughout the pandemic, many leaving their homes for two weeks at a time when a child needed to self isolate to provide constant care. As we are a private sector business they were ineligible for the NHS discounts offers by many of the large retailers. The sector does not make significant profits and we were able to give a £500 bonus to all staff, but many have been unable to take their annual leave, worked incredibly long hours and ultimately feel undervalued by society as well as the company. This might be a good avenue to explore.

    Best of luck with your interview
  • Hi Jo

    I haven't worked in Social Care but I was for several years a carer of a family member who was supported to remain in her own home in London by carers. My observation was that the carers were drawn from countries across the world but all outside the EU. What I don't know is whether they had all obtained the right to remain before they started working as carers or if the agency sponsored them. I would imagine that Covid travel restrictions have cut off the supply of new staff coming to the UK.

  • Compulsory vaccinations probably or if not whether redeployment is possible.
    Maintaining morale and safety despite 'relaxations'
  • There's a wider issue to recruitment since Brexit. A lot of the lower paid roles in social care don't qualify for any visas, and those that do currently struggle to arrive due to cancelled flights or their countries being on the government's ever changing red list and are banned from traveling to the UK (add to that compulsory expensive test kits, or hotel quarantine if arriving into Scotland).
  • In reply to Laura:

    Thank you so much Laura, that's really helpful. I had thought about engagement in the context of recruitment and retention but your input really brings it to life in understanding some of the detailed "lived experiences", thank you again :-).
  • In reply to Elizabeth Divver:

    Hi there Elizabeth, again that's very helpful. I think the sector has a whole heap of perfect storm issues to contend with.... Brexit, post pandemic operational and strategic implications, safety and wellbeing and pay all appear to be coming together too seriously impact the sectors ability to recruit and retain a skilled workforce. I'd picked up that the sector housing and social care is heavily dependent upon skilled workers from outside the UK so you're absolutely spot on. Thanks so much for taking the time to provide some helpful input :-)
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    I completely agree and covered this in my presentation. It's a huge, and controversial area, one in which I hope/expect the Government will need to provide direction and make changes to current law, particularly as housing and social care, Covid and discrimination law either prevent or constrain it. And Article 8 of HRA also puts limitations on it so it'll be very interesting to see how this one develops! Another complexity for the sector around vaccinations is the fact that they rely on a mixed economy workforce i.e.employees, contractors, freelancers, volunteers etc. so consistency and safety will be a consideration for contracts of engagement/for services.... Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Greatly appreciated. It reinforces that I'm on the right lines and not missing anything - yet!