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A Healthier Wales: a workforce strategy for health and social care, delivery plan 2022 to 2023

The delivery plan for the workforce strategy for health and social care outlines the actions we will take to meet the challenges and opportunities that 2022 to 2023 and beyond will bring.


Our Workforce Strategy for Health and Social Care, which was developed by Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) and Social Care Wales, was launched in October 2020 to support the implementation of A Healthier Wales. It was launched during the first stages of the Covid-19 pandemic and the strategy to date has existed against the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic.

There has also been a number of legislative and political changes with the:

All this has, and will continue to, shape service models and provision for the foreseeable future, and will have an impact on the type and size of workforce we need.

Looking forward, we are waiting for the first report of the National Care Service group and the outcomes of the Social Care Fair Work Forum.

We are already seeing the contribution of the forum’s work with the introduction of the real living wage. And we are supporting Welsh Government with understanding the impact this has had on the perceptions of the workforce, including those who are new to the sector.

The pandemic continues to have an impact, with varying levels of transmission and infection affecting the provision of services and access to services for visitors, and attraction, recruitment and retention affecting the workforce. This has compounded impact in a sector that had challenges in these areas before the pandemic. We need to continue to put in place the support the workforce and employers need, by putting the commitments set out in the strategy into action with pace and energy, and focusing on the themes of well-being, the Welsh language and inclusion, which run throughout the strategy and underpin all that we do.

We need to continue to focus on the issues of parity of esteem between the health and social care workforce, and within the social care workforce. The recruitment and retention challenges highlight the need to focus more on our workforce’s diversity, and the greater vulnerability of some people, particularly our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues, so that services reflect the needs and population of the communities they serve.

Well-being has to be at heart of all that we do so that it complements our efforts to improve recruitment and retention. We need to pay attention to the existing workforce, while making sure the sector is an attractive one for new people to join and stay. We still need to deal with the growth that’s needed between now and the end of the strategy as the demand for services grows. To achieve this, we need to understand the future supply to the workforce across all ages.

While there are still many challenges, we have made significant progress during the first 18 months of the strategy and the achievements so far have been highlighted in the annual report on the workforce strategy in 2021 to 2022.

We had hoped that we’d be in a position to focus on mid-term implementation plans at this stage of the strategy. But because of the ongoing pressures on services, we have agreed to develop another delivery plan for social care for 2022 to 2023 and we will use the three-year review, which was planned as part of the original strategy, to revisit and refresh the strategy’s actions. This process has already started and we will focus on this in summer 2022. We hope to publish a revised strategy and an implementation plan to achieve the strategy’s long-term ambitions by April 2023.

An engaged, motivated and healthy workforce

Together with HEIW, we will:

  • share good practice and resources between health and social care to drive improvement, and we will reciprocate places on health and well-being networks
  • continue to support Canopi, a mental health support service across health and social care.

We will:

  • continue to add to, evaluate and refine the range of well-being resources available via our website and externally
  • publish and monitor our achievement against our strategic equality plan
  • contribute to the implementation of the Welsh Government’s Race Equality Action Plan
  • continue to run a social care well-being network for partners and stakeholders
  • launch our health and well-being framework, setting out the commitments expected of both employers and our people, to drive positive employee experience and improve quality
  • help the sector develop peer support groups that improve resilience and well-being in their workforce
  • support the well-being of managers with more learning and development resilience events
  • continue to support the sector to work bilingually with targeted resources to support the current and future workforce as part of our commitment to Mwy Na Geiriau
  • continue to contribute to the Welsh Government-led Social Care Fair Work Forum that aims to improve working conditions in social care. You can find its full remit here
  • set up a regular, systematic study to collect data and provide broad, ongoing intelligence about the social care and social work workforce in Wales
  • strengthen our support for employers by piloting a resource that brings together our regulation and development services, working initially with adult care homes
  • hold an Accolades awards ceremony to recognise the exceptional contribution of teams and individuals to the provision of social care.

Attraction and recruitment

Together with HEIW, we will:

  • further develop the Careers Network links between careers approaches in health and social care to make the most of our reach
  • continue to support a joint network to share good practice and resources to drive improvement in recruitment and retention across the sectors.

We will:

  • develop targeted schemes for professions experiencing shortages and those that are finding it hard to recruit, with a focus on social work in 2022 to 2023
  • continue to promote apprenticeships as a viable career choice for entering and staying in the sector
  • work with stakeholders, such as the Department of Work and Pensions and Careers Wales, and awarding organisations, such as City & Guilds and the WJEC, to strengthen the links between job seekers and careers in social care
  • continue to financially support the care career connector posts in the seven regions
  • continue to run the introduction to social care programme across Wales, and evaluate its outcomes
  • continue to develop the WeCare Wales website, adding specific resources and support for employers
  • further support the jobs’ portal’s development, improving the user experience for employers and job seekers
  • continue to use social media and TV to promote WeCare Wales
  • further develop the WeCare Wales ambassador programme to highlight and showcase roles in care
  • continue to roll-out a series of training webinars that focus on the main elements of values-based recruitment, including sharing a range of resources to help employers consider and adopt this approach to recruitment.

Seamless working models

Together with HEIW, we will:

  • work with partners to expand the training on offer to health and social care workers in care homes through care home education facilitator roles
  • publish a workforce plan to support Together for Mental Health, focusing on early priorities around CAMHS, clinical psychology and perinatal services
  • develop implementation plans to support the mental health workforce plan
  • progress work on the Liberty Protection Safeguards
  • contribute to and support the Strategic Primary Care programme workforce and organisational development theme
  • contribute to and support programmes of work around nursing in social care, including workforce planning data, student nursing placements in care homes and approaches to immunisation plans
  • run a learning and evaluation event about the induction pilot in Hywel Dda.

We will:

  • run peer learning sessions with partners to explore multi-sector challenge sand how we can co-produce solutions and actions to support the development of well-being and community resourcefulness across Wales
  • publish a workforce plan for the direct care workforce
  • publish a workforce plan for the social work profession, including a new post-qualification framework.

Building a digitally ready workforce

Together with HEIW, we will:

  • launch revised online infection prevention and control (IPC) training.

We will:

  • help increase digital capability in our workforce
  • continue to develop online learning resources
  • continue to develop a digital learning platform, adding more learning and development resources the sector can use
  • monitor the provision of the national priority for digital approaches in the Social Care Wales Workforce Development Programme grant for 2021 to 2022
  • carry out research to understand the shift to digital learning and development in the sector, including identifying what support is needed to further improve this approach.

Excellent education and training

Together with HEIW, we will:

  • work with City & Guilds to share intelligence and data about the impact of Covid-19 on the provision and achievement of vocational qualifications.

We will:

  • work with partners to improve opportunities for learners to undertake education and training through the medium of Welsh.
  • make the most of opportunities for work-based learning and apprenticeships so they’re viable career choices to enter and stay in the sector
  • widen access to and promote a reduction in differential attainment across health and care education programmes
  • lead on the development of a programme of learning to support the implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards and put it into practice
  • support the development of transformation plans by councils, particularly the systemic shift that needs to take place to support strengths-based practice
  • develop the skills, capabilities and connections of those using, providing and researching care and support in Wales
  • monitor the take up and provision of the new Level 2 and 3 qualifications and support the implementation of the Levels 4 and 5 qualifications
  • support the implementation and take up of the revised Level 4 and 5 apprenticeship frameworks
  • maintain and develop All Wales Network of Mentors for outcomes-focused practice
  • analyse, report and act on the impact of Covid-19 on learners who have not been able to complete assessments or placements
  • develop and consult on consistent standards for safeguarding training and learning, and publish a framework to support the implementation of the standards
  • develop digital resources to support the restrictive practice guidance
  • provide ongoing support to student social workers through qualifying training into employment
  • publish the review of the qualifying social work framework and action the recommendations for us
  • develop and implement a post-qualifying framework for social work
  • support the use of the social care managers’ induction framework
  • continue to support the use of the All Wales Induction Framework and evaluate the use of the workbooks
  • support the continued provision for the Social Services Practitioner award
  • publish and support the implementation of the competency framework for information, advice and assistance workers
  • contribute to a light touch review of the health and social care vocational qualifications at Levels 2 to 5.

Leadership and succession

Together with HEIW, we will:

  • work to develop and subsequently grow the social care opportunities within the Gwella portal, so that it becomes the go to site for managers and leaders who wish to explore and take up professional development opportunities across social care and health
  • review the collective and compassionate leadership work and agree priority areas for development and collaborative learning.

We will:

  • continue to invest in developing compassionate leaders across health and social care
  • develop and pilot a cross-sector senior leadership programme across the statutory and third sectors in social care
  • continue to invest in specific leadership programmes for social care heads of service and statutory directors, including TMDP and MMDP qualifications, with bespoke development programmes in place for directors and assistant directors of services and workforce
  • develop an aspiring manager learning and development programme and put it into practice
  • support peer networks for registered social care managers in private, voluntary and public services to improve well-being and help protect resilience
  • continue to support the promotion and implementation of the new Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications, including the related apprenticeship pathways
  • continue to provide a leadership role in the promotion of bilingual working
  • support the Welsh Government’s Mwy Na Geiriau action plan by developing a revised action plan for Social Care Wales.

Workforce supply and shape

Together with HEIW, we will:

  • publish the mental health workforce plan and put its actions into practice

We will:

  • continue to co-ordinate the workforce data collection, improving the levels of return and the accuracy of the data
  • continue to change our data collection approaches to make sure robust data is available, including improving the data reporting around language and ethnicity
  • continue to support the care home workforce to register in time for mandatory registration in October 2022
  • publish the workforce plans for the direct care workforce and the social work profession
  • drill down into areas of concern to better understand the profile of the workforce and provide intelligence to support effective decision making. For example, by profiling nurses in social care, and looking at turnover rates in areas such as social work and domiciliary care
  • carry out a scoping review of the approaches to workforce planning across the sector and make recommendations for developing this function.


The pandemic has had a long-lasting effect on the health and social care sector. It’s shone a light on the challenges that existed before the pandemic and created new challenges during the ongoing recovery.

Achieving the ambition of the 10-year strategy was always aspirational and we recognise there’s more work to be done to put longer term plans in place to meet those aspirations. We will continue to support collaborative working across health and social care, between local organisations and national bodies working in social partnership.

The work carried out since the strategy’s launch, which clearly links the work to its seven key themes and underpinning golden threads, has allowed us to gain a momentum that we can build upon in future years, in-line with our longer term aspirations and goals. This puts us in a good position to meet the challenges and opportunities that 2022 to 2023 and beyond will bring.

We have a clear plan for 2022 to 2023. We’ve also planned a series of workshops during the middle and later stages of 2022 to 2023 as part of the strategy’s first formal review, in preparation for a revised strategy and longer term implementation plan for 2023 onwards.

Social Care Wales

Spetember 2022

First published: 13 September 2022
Last updated: 25 September 2022
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