During the coronavirus pandemic we have seen countless examples which celebrate the great work being done by the social care sector and which have inspired people to embark on a career in the industry. The government’s recent initiative to get people into the adult care sector through the short-term paid worker scheme is continuing the momentum to engage and further inspire the public to consider a career in care.
To support with this, providers should implement focussed recruitment drives and prepare their service to ensure safe and effective care continues throughout the year. As such some key tips to ensuring you are continually prepared include:
• Ensuring staffing levels remain sufficient to meet service user demand; where there is a short fall prepare for this in advance through recruitment drives and utilising existing staff effectively
• Ensure staff rotas are created in advance and share these with staff to confirm there are no immediate issues
• Ensure service user rotas are distributed, where possible, so that service users are aware of their visits in advance and who will be supporting them
The new campaign by the Department of Health and Social Care is also an important resource to utilise for your recruitment activity. The scheme aims to drive more people to consider and apply for jobs in the health and social care sector and help on a short-term basis with the urgent need for more staff this winter. Those that apply will have their details sent to their nearest local authority who will then liaise with providers about opportunities in the area, so be sure to keep your local authorities informed of any vacancies you may have. A poster advertising the new scheme is also available through the QCS management system and sets out the key elements of the whole scheme.
And as we continue through the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown eases it is also important to reassure perspective candidates of what processes you have in place to meet government guidelines in relation to COVID-19. Ensure that you have robust policies and procedures in place and sufficient supplies of PPE for staff to utilise; the latest updates from QCS on coronavirus, as well as the QCS COVID-19 Hub offer an array of policies, procedures, factsheets, checklists and other documents to further support in this area.
Where all avenues have been examined for staff and further resources are needed, having agency staff to support may be another option. Although it is not ideal to have agency staff for long periods of time, a safe and effective service is paramount. Therefore, if agency staff are deployed, then robust recruitment checks beforehand need to take place to ensure they are safe to support your service users. The QCS Agency Staff policy and procedure can support with this, and some key aspects that need to be confirmed in relation to agency staff include:
• Satisfactory references
• DBS checks
• Right to work in the UK confirmed
• Mandatory training has been achieved
Although this is not an exhaustive list, these are some of the key checks, alongside your main recruitment practices, that will allow you to confirm that the agency worker is cleared to work for the service. In achieving these it supports both Regulations 18 and 19 of the Health and Social Care Act and evidence of this should be available during regulatory inspections.