VODG responds to the publication of CQC’s State of Care 2020/21 report

22 October 2021

In response to today’s publication of the State of Care 2020/21 by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) made the following statement:

“At the heart of government’s ambitions is the drive to level up. This year’s State of Care report makes for a sobering read because it demonstrates that government’s ambitions for a more equitable society are far from the reality of the lives of disabled people who draw on social care services.

“CQC points to a number of harsh realities in the sector that are having profound and far-reaching consequences on people’s lives, including their rights and entitlements to good quality care.

“VODG is an infrastructure body of more than 100 voluntary sector organisations that work alongside disabled people. As well as the impact on the availability and quality of vital care services for people who rely on them, we also know from our members how challenging workforce pressures are. We are hearing first-hand about high turnover rates, rising vacancy rates, with some members having little to no success with recruitment campaigns because of competition from other low pay sectors. This, coupled with mounting costs and a lack of local authority funding, is pulling away much needed investment in staff pay and rewards that everyone in the sector wants to see. We have already reached the point where charities are not taking on new services in some areas, and we could see charitable-run services becoming unviable if we cannot secure the workforce to deliver care.

“CQC rightly points out that “work needs to begin now to address the immediate problem of rising vacancy rates as well as planning for the future.” Skills for Care highlights over 100,000 vacancies in any one day in the sector, and analysis by VODG member Community Integrated Care, in partnership with Korn Ferry, found that social care workers are undervalued by as much as 39% – nearly £7,000 per year – in comparison to their peers in equivalent positions in other publicly funded sectors. VODG’s own assessment is that there is very little confidence in government to address the sector’s workforce pressures.

“Voluntary sector providers provide services to people who rely on the state to pay for their care. Our members are also reliant on local authority commissioners, whose funding is significantly stretched, to deliver these services and without significant investment to support the sector in the long-term, beyond the quick fix £162.5million announced yesterday, we are now planning for a very difficult and challenging winter period. Voluntary sector disability provision is distinct because of its reliance on state funding and unlike other industries such as retail and hospitality, our members are unable to increase fees to cover for increased pay that we all want to see.

“Over the course of the pandemic, we have gone from ‘clapping for carers’ and public outpouring of support for essential care workers, through to policy approaches which seem set to dodge the required public investment needed to adequately reward our workforce. VODG continues to call for services to be commissioned at rates that better recognise and reward staff for their essential and valued work within our society.

“We are less than one week away from the Chancellor’s Comprehensive Spending Review. The Chancellor has a choice and can act now. He can tackle these pressures head on, provide sufficient funds to enable state funded services to be commissioned at levels that enable the workforce to be properly rewarded for the work they do long into the future. This one action will help to prevent essential care services being pulled away from disabled people.”

VODG Media Centre