The impact of regulation and registration on the residential childcare workforce: comparing England and Wales
The Project consists of two elements, a primary research study and a related feasibility study. The overall aim of the primary research study is to explore the question “what is the impact of regulation and registration on the residential childcare work force”. This overarching question is broken down into two subsidiary questions:
- What is the understanding of residential childcare workers of the regulatory and registration framework within which they work?
- What are the experiences of staff entering the residential childcare workforce and what is the impact of differing regulatory frameworks on those experiences?
The main objectives of the proposed research are:
- To develop a logic model for registration and regulation of social care staff. The model will draw together and describe the hypotheses held by a wide range of stakeholders about the inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes of the registration and regulation process as they relate to residential childcare workforce, elements of which will then be explored through other work packages within the study.
- To provide an analysis of how the registration and regulation process is experienced and understood by the residential childcare workforce and their understandings of its impact on their own practice and development; the quality of care provided; and outcomes for young people.
- To contribute new knowledge and generate empirical insights for understanding the impact of regulatory frameworks and shaping future developments of regulatory policy in England, Wales and elsewhere.
- To explore the feasibility of a potential future longitudinal research design, utilising both existing data and new forms of primary data, to research the long-term impacts of regulation on the residential childcare workforce and outcomes for young people.
NIHR Health and Social Care Delivery Research
The study is led by Dr Martin Elliott, Cardiff University. Professor Jill Manthorpe, King’s College London; Professor Michael Robling, Cardiff University; Dr Alyson Rees, Cardiff University; Dr Mary Baginsky, King’s College London; Dr Cindy Corliss, Cardiff University; Dr Carl Purcell, King’s College London; Dr Rebecca Playle, Cardiff University
Work package one (WP1) – through engagement with stakeholders in the residential childcare sector, including providers, care experienced young people and advocates, service commissioners, inspection, and regulatory bodies a logic model for registration and regulation of residential care staff will be developed. The model will draw together and describe the hypotheses held by a wide range of stakeholders of the inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes of the registration and regulation process as it relates to workers, including how they believe these will impact on outcomes for children and young people in the long term. Data collected will be synthesised into a logic model of the registration and regulation process as it applies to residential childcare staff.
Work package two (WP2) – will be an on-line survey of registered residential children’s home staff in Wales. The survey will seek to compare the logic model developed in WP1 of how staff registration and regulation are understood to work and its impact on service quality and outcomes for children, with the experiences and perceptions of workers who have been subject to the process. Based on the register containing approx. 3000 registrants and an estimated potential response rate of 34% for an on-line workforce survey (Shih and Fan, 2008) would give a sample of over 1000 respondents.
Work package three (WP3) – will consist of semi-structured interviews with staff entering the workforce in England and Wales at two time points: at or as near as possible to entry to the workforce (and registration in Wales); and 6-9 months after entering the workforce. The interviews will provide the opportunity to explore these early employment experiences in terms of induction, training, and preparation for working with vulnerable children and young people, and to consider these within the context of the differing regulatory
frameworks. We will undertake interviews with 50 participants (25 in England and 25 in Wales) at the two time points identified (100 interviews). As far as possible these samples will be representative of the residential childcare workforce in terms of demographics such as gender, ethnicity, and age profile.
Work package four (WP4) – the feasibility component of the study will explore the possibilities of developing a study design that would not only allow consideration of the impact of regulation long term (including on outcomes for young people), but that could also potentially be applied to other groups who are or will be subject to registration e.g., domiciliary care workers in England (these are registered in Wales). As with the previous WPs, the logic model will provide the framework to shape this phase of the study. The WP will include a review of international policy, research and grey literature on social care workforce registration and regulation and learning from other fields; exploring sources of data that could be utilised as part of the study design; and defining data that would need to be collected to undertake such a study. The study design developed will then be used as the basis for a small number of interviews with key stakeholders, including residential child care staff and care experienced young people, to discuss the feasibility of the proposed future study.