The rationale and effectiveness of funding support for training of social care staff in the voluntary social services sector was reviewed in 2009 against the background of significant changes in the structures, regulation and funding of health and social care in Northern Ireland.
Following consultation with the sector it was recognised that major reform and changes were needed in order to strengthen the quality and safety of commissioned social care service provision in the voluntary sector by introducing a series of measures that would improve the knowledge base, skills and competencies of social care staff across a wider spectrum of voluntary sector organisations.
As such, the reformed training support programme will seek to:
- support the implementation of new Departmental standards and agreed policy priorities, including the PSS Development and Training Strategy 2006 - 2016
- ensure that priority is given to small/medium voluntary social services organisations who require support from this programme, and who are not able to access other sources of funding
- improve access to and knowledge of the funding programme and increase the number of voluntary social services organisations who can benefit from it
- maximise value for money by providing funding against actual costs for study of qualification achievement which have been agreed between the voluntary organisation and training provider
- encourage collaborative approaches among voluntary social services organisations by encouraging the development of social care training consortia, so widening the reach of the funding programme
- support new and innovative approaches to learning and development eg distance learning, e-learning etc
- promote employer responsibility for social care staff training and/or qualification achievement of their workforce