The registration of social care staff will improve the quality of social care according to an evaluation exercise following Northern Ireland becoming the first region in the UK to introduce compulsory registration to social care workers.
Compulsory registration means since 31 March 2017, social care workers in domiciliary care, adult day care and residential and supported living settings will be registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC).
The Evaluation of the Impact of the Registration of the Social Care Workforce Study has been designed to measure the impact over time of workforce registration and the introduction of new professional standards for social care workers who include domiciliary and residential care workers, day care workers and supported living care workers. The study focuses on co-production with staff, employers and people who use services, and draws on existing resources both within the Department, the NISCC and partner organisations such as the local HSCTs, Ulster University and SCIE.
Findings in the study identified: 70% of the public believed that the new registration would lead to improvements; 51% of employers who were surveyed in the study believed that staff turnover will be reduced as a result of registration; 77% are more confident that if something goes wrong, those responsible will be prevented from making the same errors again; and 65% thought it likely to reduce the risk of something going wrong.
Jackie McIlroy (pictured), the Acting Deputy Chief Social Worker at the Department of Health, said: “This evaluation explores to what extent professional regulation has supported the Department of Health’s intention to strengthen public confidence in social care and improve the quality of service provision.
“Northern Ireland is the first in the UK to introduce compulsory registration to social care workers. We understand other parts of the UK are also considering this and we look forward to sharing our good practice and experience.”
“Social care workers, their employers, the general public, and people who use social care services have all told us about their experiences and what impact they feel registration of social care workers will have on services. The findings from year one of the evaluation highlight the really important contribution of this workforce in providing community care and support, in sustaining social wellbeing, and also the very high value the public and people who use services place on the safety and quality of social care services.”