Our CEO Robbie Shanahan has written a letter to local authorities, councillors and funders asking for urgent help in recruiting and retaining our frontline keyworkers who provide vital care and support to people with learning disabilities and on the autism spectrum.

The letter states that current funding is not enough for our charity to manage the rising costs of inflation, investment in our services and wage inflation. It appeals for help to provide the real Living Wage to our staff and for funding for training and to cover additional costs caused by managing the impact of COVID, including increased isolation, sick leave and well-being services.

In its recently published State of Health and Social Care in England report, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) confirmed fears that social care providers are facing a staffing crisis, losing staff to better paid jobs in retail and hospitality, and unable to recruit replacements. Across England, numbers of unfilled jobs are rising month on month, the researchers found, from 6% in April to more than 10% in September.

Data from Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) also sets out stark findings nationally for not-for-profit organisations, finding that 91% of charities identified workforce as either their top priority or a high priority for their organisation and that 81% are finding it very difficult or difficult to recruit staff.

Robbie Shanahan said:

“I have taken the unprecedented step of writing to our local councillors, MPs and advocates and the families and carers of the people we support of this letter, as I believe we all need to support each other to find a solution to the ever-growing social care crisis. Ultimately, it affects everyone in society in some shape or form.

As the CEO of Aspens, over the last eighteen months I have ensured we have been doing everything we can to deliver our care and support as efficiently as possible, whilst not compromising the quality of professionalism of our work. We are committed to providing the highest quality personalised care for individuals with autism and learning disabilities and their families, meet all their needs, support their aspirations and give them a voice.

However, with a challenging winter period ahead and a looming recruitment crisis I am deeply concerned about the future of the social care sector.

We believe that local authorities can have the vision to take their own steps to reform social care and we hope they will take note of our appeal and provide Aspens and organisations like us with the support we need.”

Read Robbie's letter here

Sign a petition urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ensure social care workers receive a minimum of the Real Living Wage (2022 rates), through increased funding to local authorities, to be passed on to adult social care providers. Sign here.