NHS Digital annual report shows increase in adult social care workforce

An additional 1,000 adult social services roles were filled in local authorities across England, according to the latest NHS Digital annual report on local authority-employed adult social care workforce in England.

As of September 2019, there were 113,300 adult social service jobs in local authorities, held by 109.600 people, which was a 0.9% increase from the same period in 2018 – or equivalent to 1,000 additional roles. This accounts for approximately 6.9% of the total adult social care workforce in England.

The increase represents the second year-on-year rise since reporting began in 2011 and is broadly stable since 2016. Between the same period between 2011 and 2019, there has been an overall decrease of 28.9% or 46,100 local authority jobs.

The NHS Digital report does not include information on staff employed in the independent sector (private and voluntary) or children’s social services departments (published separately by the Department for Education).


The report also showed nearly half of all local authority job roles were in direct care providing roles.

Only the ‘Professional’ job role group, which includes social workers and occupational therapists, has seen an increase since 2011, and was up 1,300 jobs between 2018 and 2019. It has remained relatively stable throughout the period since data began being recorded, currently reporting 21,100 roles across England.

An estimated 3.4 million hours were worked per week in 2019 by 109,600 adult social care staff within local authorities – a 25,500-hour increase per week based on the previous year. Directly employed staff also had fewer mean numbers of sick days than previous years, though more than the UK employment average.

Of directly employed staff, 42.2% had zero sick days in the year.

Staff were general older when compared to the latest available equivalent for the independent sector or with the NHS workforce’s average age, at 47.5 years old.


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