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Developing capacity

Longitudinal Care Work Study (LoCS)


This project aims to increase understanding of the factors that facilitate or constrain recruitment and retention in the social care workforce in England. The National Minimum Data Set for Social Care has enhanced understanding of the profile of the workforce but it has not afforded us full understanding of factors affecting recruitment and retention. This research investigates both staff and wider perspectives on what leads people to join or leave the sector.

Research team

Shereen Hussein (Principal Investigator)
Jo Moriarty
Martin Stevens
Jill Manthorpe
Michelle Cornes
Jess Harris
Kritika Samsi


Department of Health, Policy Research Programme


The social care workforce constitutes between 4-6% of the total UK workforce. The National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) has enhanced understanding of its profile but not a full understanding of factors affecting recruitment and retention. Suitable staff are essential to government plans for the transformation of social care services. This research investigates staff and wider perspectives on career progression and what makes them join (or leave) the sector.


Started in 2008, this is a longitudinal panel survey of a sample of social care providers and their workforce in four different parts of England. A total of 300 interviews have been carried out over two phases with the social care workforce, employers, and service users/carers by Jess Harris, Jo Moriarty and Michelle Cornes.

A multi-mode survey developed and administered by Shereen Hussein has been distributed by post and online at phase one and phase two to a wider group of social care workers. So far two rounds of an online practitioners’ survey have been conducted with a third phase planned to start April 2015.

The first round of the survey (T1) took place between May 2010 and July 2011 and received a total of 914 responses. The second round (T2) took place between April 2012 and July 2013 and received a total of 428 responses. Among the responses to the survey, 172 were received from the same individuals at T1 and T2.

Our longitudinal design has enabled us to ask those who have changed post about their reasons for movement, new role, satisfaction with working conditions, and intentions regarding work in social care, as well as enabling us to identify issues influencing recruitment and retention in the sector over time.  

In 2016 we have analysed quantitative and qualitative data from the first two waves of data collection focusing on ‘pay and wages’; ‘men in care work’; ‘workers’ motivations’; ‘personalisation of care’; ‘job satisfaction’ and ‘workers’ stress’. A third wave of data collection is currently underway.


2008 – 

Output and impact

An Expert Seminar engaged a range of stakeholders in the research at the outset in 2008. An Interim Report was produced in 2010 and presentations have been made to research and practitioner audiences in the UK, Sweden and Italy.

In 2014 an Expert Seminar discussed emerging findings and analysis with an invited audience. A review of care home workers’ satisfaction with their work with residents with dementia has been published. Evidence was provided to Baroness Kingsmill’s Review of exploitation in the care sector, to the Burstow Commission into the Future of the Home Care Workforce and to the Commission on Hearing Loss.

Presentations have been made to research and practitioner audiences in the UK and Australia. Findings are reported regularly in the professional press and media. Detailed analysis has informed a number of recent reports and policy briefings on the social care sector including the Political Studies Association Commission on Care.


Hussein, S. (2018) 'Job demand, control and unresolved stress within the emotional work of long-term care in England', International Journal of Care and Caring, 2(1): 89-107. doi:10.1332/239788218X15187915863909

Manthorpe, J., Harris, J., Stevens, M., and Moriarty, J. (2018) '‘We’re effectively becoming immigration officers’: social care managers’ experiences of the risk work of employing migrant care workers', Health, Risk & Society. doi:10.1080/13698575.2018.1432758

Hussein, S. (2017) ‘We don’t do it for the money’...  The scale and reasons of poverty-pay among frontline long term care workers in England. Health and Social Care in the Community. DOI: 10.1111/hsc.12455

Oglak, S. & Hussein, S. (2016) 'Active Ageing, Social and Cultural Integration of Older Turkish Alevi Refugees in London', Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, 36(1): 74-87.

Manthorpe, J., Harris, J., Samsi, K. & Moriarty, J. (2016) 'Doing, Being and Becoming a Valued Care Worker: User and Family Carer Views', Ethics and Social Welfare. 10.1080/17496535.2016.1247904

Manthorpe, J., Njoya, E., Harris, J., Norrie, C. & Moriarty, J. (2016) 'Media reactions to the Panorama programme “Behind Closed Doors: Social Care Exposed” and care staff reflections on publicity of poor practice in the care sector', The Journal of Adult Protection, 18(5): 266-276.

Manthorpe, J., Iliffe, S., Harris, J., Moriarty, J. & Stevens, M. (2016) 'Frailty and Social Care: Over- or Under-Familiar Terms?', Social Policy and Society. 10.1017/S1474746416000427

Manthorpe, J. (2014) 'Enjoying the front-line of dementia care: an integrative analysis of what care home staff report makes them happy at work', Working with Older People, 18(4): 167-175.

Samsi, K. & Manthorpe, J. (2014) 'Care pathways for dementia: current perspectives', Clinical Interventions in Aging, 9: 2055-2063. Open Access

Non-peer reviewed articles

Hussein, S. (2017) 'Social Skills: Could care work, which is increasingly complex and resistant to automation, be an economic opportunity?' RSA Journal, CLXII, 5568: 30-33.

Moriarty, J. (2015) 'Want to tackle social worker stress? Smaller caseloads may not be the answer', The Guardian (Social Care Network), 26 January.

Reports and book chapters

Hussein, S. (in press, 2018) ‘The English Social Care Workforce: The vexed questions of low wages and stress’, in Christensen & Billing (eds.) Research Companion to Care Work Around the World, London: Routledge.

Report of the Longitudinal Care Work Study (LoCS) Expert Seminar on 24 September 2014 (edited by Jill Manthorpe and Jess Harris; published November 2014. See below for the four presentations from the day)

Note: this report has not been subject to independent review:
Hussein, S., Stevens, M., Moriarty, J. & Manthorpe, J., (2010), 'Longitudinal Care Study (LoCS). Interim Report' [pdf, 664 KB], London: Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London.


Hussein, S. (2016) ‘Job Control, Demand and Moral Distress among Social Care Workers in England’, ESRC Centre for Population Change; Department of Geography and Sustainable Development; University of St Andrews, Edinburgh, the United Kingdom, 24 November.

Hussein, S. (2016) 'Comparing the social service workforce across Europe:  Current Trends', The European Social Network Seminar, Bratislava, Slovakia, 15 November. [Presentation recording]

Hussein, S. (2016) ‘What makes men work in the long term care sector?’ 4th International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long-term Care, London School of Economics, London, 5 September.

Hussein, S. (2016) ‘Personalisation, marketisation and casualisation of care in the United Kingdom: Issues of low wages and workers’ stress’, Centre for People, Organisation and Work, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, 15 August. [Media coverage]

Hussein, S. (2016) ‘Gender, migration and poverty pay in the precarious English social care sector’, Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 9 August.

Hussein, S. (2016) ‘Using SEM to examine the role of job demand, control and support on job satisfaction and job quitting intention among British LTC workers’, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia, 4 August. [Media coverage] [Recording of the presentation]

Hussein, S. (2016) ‘Ethical dimensions in the delivery of quality care by direct care workers: human rights and safeguarding aspects’, Keynote presentation, Everyday Ethics, Annual Conference, Royal College of Nursing, London, 10 May.

Hussein, S. (2016) 'Subjective and structural barriers older migrants face when accessing and receiving health and care services', British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Nottingham, 28 April.

Hussein, S. (2015) 'Addressing social care needs and well being of older migrants and ethnic minorities in the UK [presentation]', Faculty of the psychology of older people (FPOP) Conference, Liverpool, 3 July. [paper]

Samsi, K., Moriarty, J., Harris, J. & Manthorpe, J. (2015) 'What do older people want from their care services?', Annual Conference of the British Society of Gerontology, Newcastle, 2 July.

Manthorpe, J. (2015) 'Home care: potential and paradox - a case study of England', 10th Seoul International Gerontology Symposium, Seoul, May.

Hussein, S. (2015) 'Labour market participation in the social care sector: opportunities and challenges for young adults', Work, gender and generation in the Southampton city-region, University of Southampton, 8 May.

Moriarty, J. & Manthorpe, J. (2015) 'Stress busters: What helps social workers and why?', The College of Social Work Annual Conference, London, 12 March.

Manthorpe, J. & Moriarty, J. (2015) 'Carers and compassion', Jewish Care's Conference on Carers, London, 17 February.

Moriarty, J. (2015) 'Are we all getting fatigued of compassion?', Seventh Annual Joint Conference from Making Research Count, Age UK London & Social Care Workforce Research Unit King's College London, 12 February.

Hussein, S. (2015) 'The Care Certificate 2015: are we prepared?', Westminster Briefing event, London, 29 January.

Moriarty, J. (2015) 'The social care context: compassionate care?', RADIQL Seminar, London, 21 January.

Hussein, S. (2015) 'Job satisfaction, stress and work-life balance in social care at a time of austerity', ESRC Work Life Seminar, Reading, 9 January.

Moriarty, J. (2014) 'A dose of compassion?', Margaret Butterworth Care Home Forum, London, 26 November.

Manthorpe, J., Moriarty, J., Hussein, S., Stevens, M., Cornes, M., Harris, J. & Samsi, K. (2014) 'Compassion and care work - 'do as you would be done by'', Inaugural meeting of the Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers, Oxford, 26 September.

Samsi, K. (2014) 'It's not the money - why work in the care sector?', LoCS Expert Seminar, King's College London, 24 September.

Moriarty, J. (2014) 'Compassionate care', LoCS Expert Seminar, King's College London, 24 September.

Manthorpe, J. (2014) 'Introduction to the Longitudinal Care Work Study (LoCS)', LoCS Expert Seminar, King's College London, 24 September.

Hussein, S. (2014) 'Job satisfaction dynamics: Longitudinal Care Work Study', LoCS Expert Seminar, King's College London, 24 September.

Stevens, M. (2014) 'It’s not the money so how do motivations drive decisions to work in the long term care sector?', International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long-term Care, London School of Economics, 2 September.

Moriarty, J., Hussein, S., Manthorpe, J., Stevens, M., Cornes, M., Harris, J. & Samsi, K. (2014) 'Compassion and care work: a contested concept or a much needed policy response?', International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long-term Care, London School of Economics, 2 September.

Hussein, S. & Öglak, S. (2014) 'Ageing, identity and place: the experience of Turkish migrants in the United Kingdom', Turkish Migration in Europe International Conference, London, 30 May.

Öglak, S. & Hussein, S. (2014) 'Active ageing, social and cultural integration of elderly Turkish Alevi refugees in London', International Association of Social Science Research: European Conference on Social and Behavioral Sciences, Rome, 6 February.

Hussein, S. & Oglak, S. (2013) 'Assumed and invisible roles of families and kinship in long term care provision among Turkish migrants in the UK', 11th European Sociological Conference, Turin, 28 August.

Moriarty, J., Cornes, M., Hussein, S., Stevens, M. & Manthorpe, J. (2013) 'All in a day's work: changes in the content and delivery of social care', Doing More for Less, Supporting Workers in Challenging Roles in Challenging Times, a symposium (convenor: Michelle Cornes) at the Social Policy Association Conference, University of Sheffield, 8-10 July.

Hussein, S. (2013) 'Europe ageing populations: myth and reality', Counterpoint and Open Societies Foundation workshop, London, 26 June.

Manthorpe, J. (2013) 'Dignity in practice', Greenwich, 24 March.

Hussein, S. (2013) 'Families, communities and the state', Invisible Communities: Working with older people from Europe and beyond. A joint conference from Making Research Count, Age UK London & the Social Care Workforce Research Unit, London, 30 January.

Manthorpe, J. (2012) 'Standards in care homes - moving forward to prevent neglect and abuse of vulnerable adults', Raising Standards in Care Homes: Safeguarding Adults from Neglect and Abuse, London, 21 November.

Stevens, M. (2012) 'What workforce for personalised care?', The Personalisation Agenda. Success or failure for older people? Annual Age UK Bristol and Brunelcare Research Forum event, Bristol, 10 October.

Moriarty, J., Hussein, S., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J. & Cornes, M. (2012) 'Soft skills and hard choices. Employers' views on recruitment and retention in social care', 2nd International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long-term Care, London, 7 September.

Hussein, S. & Oğlak, S. (2012) 'Older Turkish migrants' care needs in the UK: cultural encounters and unmet needs', 2nd International Conference on Evidence-based Policy in Long-term Care, London, 6 September.

Moriarty, J., Hussein, S., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J. & Cornes, M. (2012) 'Cutbacks and the care sector: employers' perspectives on the impact of the recession on employment in the care sector', British Sociological Association annual conference, Leeds, 13 April.

Hussein, S., Moriarty, J., Manthorpe, J. & Stevens, M., (2008), 'The social care workforce longitudinal study.', Expert seminar presentation, Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London, March.


Stevens, M. (2015) 'Jobs for the girls? Intergenerational care and gender inequality in Europe', The Social Care Elf, 9 June.

Hussein, S. (2013) 'Ageing Turkish migrants in European cities experience worrying levels of social isolation which can limit their access to health and social care services', EUROPP - European Politics and Policy Blog, 18 February.

Hussein, S. (2013) 'Research On Older Turkish Migrants In The UK – Emerging Findings From ROWM', Social Care Workforce:, 19 January.

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