Guidance has been published on a ring-fenced £120m grant designed to boost social care staffing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant will be paid in two instalments to local authorities, with the first £84m made early this month. The remaining £36m will be paid in March on the condition that submissions have been made by local authorities to the Department of Health and Social Care by 12 February.
The grant is designed to fund staffing expenditure incurred between 16 January and 31 March.
Kathy Roberts, chair of the Care Provider Alliance, said: “The Care Provider Alliance has been instrumental in calling on the government for this extra £120 million funding to address the workforce capacity issues that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Social care providers have been under intense pressure to manage workforce capacity issues and this new funding must be distributed at speed to support providers to manage the very real staff shortages and challenges they face.
“There were significant staff shortages in social care pre-COVID, with over 112,000 vacancies reported by Skills for Care. We must not lose sight of the need for a longer-term solution for the sector.
“The government must develop a sustainable People Plan that ensures pay and conditions of care workers are not only attractive to compete with the likes of the supermarket chains, but that there is a clear strategy to address the workforce issues and a career pathway for people who work in social care.”