A voice for the whole of the social care sector

Avnish Goyal, chair of Hallmark Care Homes and chair of Care England, considers the key role of Care England, which works on behalf of the care sector to create an environment in which the delivery of high quality care can be assured

Since Care England’s inception in 1986, originally as an independent hospitals association, it has done a lot of good for the social care sector. Now, 32 years on, members run and manage more than 3500 care services and their four key priorities remain: sustainable funding for quality care; proportionate and equitable regulation; workforce and innovation; and development.

Working on behalf of small, medium and large providers, Care England’s aim is to speak with a single unified voice for both members and the entire care sector and to create an environment in which providers can continue to deliver the high quality care that communities need and deserve.

Members include single care homes, small local groups, national providers and not for profit voluntary organisations and associations, which between them provide a variety of services for older people and those with long term conditions, learning disabilities and mental health problems. Benefits include

cost savings and information and advice for providers, as well as events and conferences where members can network and get to grips with sector developments.

Moreover, Care England is a force for change in that it campaigns and lobbies on behalf of its members and is recognised and respected across all political parties. As an extension of this, Care England has worked hard to raise the profile of social care by continuing to nurture good working relationships with MPs from all parties in anticipation of the green paper on social care. It also continues to engage with a wide range of national organisations such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), ADASS, the Local Government Association (LGA) and NHS England to ensure that their members are kept up to date with relevant developments.

Public relations

In terms of public relations, Care England works tirelessly to present the adult

Care England chair, Professor Martin Green, regularly speaks at events 14

social care sector effectively through its events and media work, redefining the status of independent care within government and society in general. For example, 2017 saw a number of articles by Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, appear in the press, as well as speaking engagements, memberships of policy and development groups and national conferences and events. In addition to this, Care England has embraced social media and continues to grow its audience; it is listed as one of the top 100 social media influencers in the social care sector. With the Government stalling to find a fair, long term funding solution for care services, it is about time that we came together as care providers to express our dissatisfaction with this so that we can continue to provide the care residents so badly need and deserve. Since being appointed chair of Care England in 2015, I have worked hard alongside Professor Green to influence policy makers by driving new ideas and thinking as well as engaging the sector to work more closely together. This year our focus has been on gearing up to respond to the long awaited social care green paper and we have been doing much preparatory work, especially in relation to fee rates from local authorities up and down the country. Several policy developments of particular note this year include: Care England’s intervention in the Mencap appeal case on sleep ins; the judicial review regarding Essex County Council challenging its performance on market shaping; care workers to have access to flu vaccinations; and another successful care home parliamentary reception. Care England also provided much needed guidance on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) report published this year, refreshed its website this autumn and has organised what will • November 2018

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