Health and Social Care Task Group minutes: 23 February 2023

Meeting details

Date: Thursday 23 February 2023

Time: 9.30am to 11am

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.

Actions arising from this meeting

Actions to take forward
Number Description Responsible/Lead
1 Contact JW and VC with feedback and thoughts and questions on the Nursing Associate programme ALL employers
2 Volunteer(s) needed to chair – contact KSt and/or Secretariat ALL interested
3 Circulate DWP poster to the group DM

1. Welcome (new members)

KSt welcomed everyone present and noted items for potentially raising under AOB.

2. Review of Previous Minutes & Actions

KSt advised that there is a poster to share from DWP on Universal Credit. She is meeting with The Prince’s Trust advisers on ways to engage. This includes using the ideas from SBu’s training session on presentation and engaging the audience. SBu added that two videos of modules of the topics covered have been completed and more will be made.

Chairing the group is on the agenda.

No questions or comments. Minutes agreed.

3. Developing Nursing Associates via apprenticeships

JW of Brighton University and VC of Chichester University gave a joint presentation. They explained that this joint way of working means that the offer can be consistent across the county and, more importantly, across separate trusts which can operate over wide geographic areas.

The Nursing Associate apprenticeship role bridges the gap between Registered Nurses (RGNs) and Health Care Assistants (HCAs). It opens up the opportunity to become a registered nurse. Making good use of the role in adult social care is being explored and is recognised as a skills gap as currently the majority of apprentice nurse associates are in healthcare settings.

Challenges of setting up apprenticeships are significant for employers, especially smaller ones which can be a barrier to this offer. The desire to develop the workforce is high but there are concerns. These include:

  • Payment for backfill
  • Managing the 20% off the job commitment
  • Managing the training programme/employment rules while being “bank staff”
  • Meeting the maths and English requirements
  • Releasing staff to attend classroom lectures
  • Sourcing funding for the employer contribution

KSt opened discussion by saying that nursing home nurses have low rates of retention, but a high number of individuals remain in the sector and move from employer to employer.

KMa emphasised the need for employers to see the apprenticeship as a different role to the HCAs. Learning needs to be put into practice, ‘working role needs to reflect and develop the knowledge and skills’. This needs to be an exciting career pathway which will command a higher salary on completion to mirror the increased responsibility.

SBu welcomed the joined-up approach of the two universities. He queried the lack of an East Sussex campus now and that travel costs may deter some entrants, especially given current economic climate. He posed that one solution could be the hire of college campus space for face to face delivery in East Sussex.

It was confirmed that University of Brighton and University of Chichester will accept Functional skills as well as GCSE for the entry requirement.

Levy transfer support is available to help employers.

Health Education England (HEE) may also be able to provide support – they have done so in the past – but not known what this will look like in the future yet.

PL agreed to have a separate conversation with JW and VC regarding experiences in Kent. There had been delays with getting functional skills paperwork evidenced which delayed starting dates. Travel has come up as a concern – more to do with costs of travel to and from placements than to the study location. Some students move to the NHS, some of out of the sector altogether. Staffing capacity remains the biggest issue with pressured managers sometimes resistant to releasing staff for teaching time.

KSt asked that PL share promotional materials that have worked. Being clear on developing one’s own workforce is a key message. KSt will share the South East Care handbook when ready – the deployment guide is very useful.

JW and VC both advised that they can visit employers to explain the programmes to them.

ACTION 1: Contact JW and VC with feedback and thoughts and questions on the Nursing Associate programme – ALL employers

4. Chair – Forward planning

KSt highlighted the need for a new chair/co-chairs after she steps down from the role at the end of March.

KSt highlighted the role is less burdensome than some may be aware of. The chair will suggest topics or speakers but it is the secretariat who follow up booking and preparing the items.

SBu emphasised the ‘heavy lifting’ is done by the secretariat who is there to support the chair as with all the other Task and Working Groups.

KSt added that the meeting frequency can be reviewed – every two months quite feasible. Other Task Groups meet quarterly, but some do have working/sub-group meetings in-between to carry forward particular actions.

ACTION 2: Volunteer(s) needed to chair – contact KSt and/or Secretariat


5. Skills East Sussex feedback and DWP update

DM gave an overview of how Skills East Sussex (SES) is the strategic board on skills for the county, and how it sits under the SELEP (South East Local Enterprise Partnership) and Team East Sussex framework.

The chairs of the sector task groups are invited to the SES Board as the employer voice for the Board. The Health and Social Care Task group is unique in being pan-Sussex formed from previous groups in November 2021.

Skills East Sussex has six priorities for 2021-2030 and these feed into the work of the task groups. The January meeting had a focus on upskilling the workforce and supporting the unemployed and unqualified in context of the cost-of-living crisis.

There was a summary of programmes past (Minding the Gap) and present and developing (Moving on Up, Support into Work, Multiply). It was recognised that changes in funding streams and opportunities from the European Social Fund, Community Development Fund, Strategic Development Fund, Shared Prosperity Fund and Public Health mean what is on offer varies and can be complex to comprehend for users. This short-term approach (contracts are typically 12-36 months maximum) also does not support long term skills capacity building.

DWP gave unemployment and vacancy updates. Despite continued large numbers of vacancies, the ratio of job seekers to jobs is far lower (less than one job vacancy per unemployed job seeker) than that of surrounding counties. For example, five jobs per job seeker in Surrey.

Breakout sessions discussed this and the DWP priorities including how to attract more older people back to the workforce.

The three DWP key priorities are:

  1. Support for those aged 50+
  2. In Work Progression, and
  3. Health and Disability

Conversations with employers on the free support DWP can offer in recruitment are on-going. There is also myth-busting the non-existent ‘16-hour rule’ and further supporting “in work progression”. The long-term aim is to move people away from Universal Credit in a “tapered” fashion. SA shared a flyer used with DWP staff giving examples of how much extra income households/individuals can take home if they work.

RH raised that transport is a big issue locally – costs and availability, making work expensive or difficult, especially night shifts. Basic training is also an issue in health and social care – insufficient staff to support successful on-boarding leads to poor retention.  

Employer flexibility is important. If staff can do an 8-hour shifts but not a 12-hour shift this should be supported where possible.

PF raised the work he is doing on market sustainability in West Sussex. This links into the ‘Great Career’ campaign RP mentioned. West Sussex have developed 48 ‘offers’ to capture gold standard terms and conditions. This is going out to providers for consultation - it covers pay and benefits, security and flexibility, training and a range of working conditions. The challenge is for providers to adopt best practice based on these findings. KSt advised that due to time constraints this research couldn’t be covered comprehensively today but would make a good future item.  

6. AOB (Any Other Business)

£15million from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is due to be issued in grant form to help with international recruitment. The outcomes from the bid will be open to all care providers across the south east.

The South East Social Care Alliance (SESCA) are working with ADASS (Association of Directors of Social Care) and the NHS on the bid.

The bid will include work on core DHSC suggested outcomes:

  • Helping providers attract overseas candidates
  • Shared recruitment resource that looks at the whole region needs
  • Providing an advice or checking service for sponsorship licence or visa applications
  • Helping new arrivals to access affordable housing
  • Helping international recruits with solutions to work travel requirements, for example, helping them gain a UK driving licence
  • Developing pastoral support, such as buddying schemes

Bids have to have a local authority lead: for the south east bid, the lead authority will be East Sussex County Council.

Date of next meeting

Last Thursday of March – 30th March at 9.30am-11am on Teams.

Attendees and apologies


KSt, Karen Stevens, CHAIR – Skills for Care, Locality Manager London and South East (East Sussex, West Sussex, Brighton & Hove)

SA, Stacey Amos, DWP Surrey and Sussex, Employer Engagement Manager

JC, Jennie Cole [part], East Sussex Careers Hub, Enterprise Co-ordinator

NCV, Natasha Craig-Vickers, West Sussex, Care Workforce Adviser Adult Services and Health

PF, Paul Feven, Consultant to WSCC

RH, Ruth Hopkins, DWP, Employer Adviser Hastings and Bexhill

EL, Elaine Lancaster, Health Education England

PL, Penny Lawlor, Kent County Council, Social Care Workforce Manager

EL, Emily Liebeg, ESCC, ASCH Project Manager Workforce Planning

KMa, Kathy Martyn, Brighton University, Apprenticeship, tech education and flexible learning lead School of Sport and Health Sciences

SMc, Sue McKay, DWP, Lewes

RM, Rose Miller [part], Primary Care NHS Sussex, Apprenticeship Lead,

LMi, Lisa Mitchell, Brighton & Hove City Council, Skills and Partnership Manager

TM, Teresa Moon, ESCC, Adult Social Care & Health Qualifications Lead

RP, Rosemary Pavioni [part], West Sussex Registered Care Association Chair

GR, Gill Ramsay, ESCG, Business Development

JSt, Jennifer Stacey [part], Bexhill College, Head of Childcare, Health and Food Technology

VS, Vanessa Swaine, ICS Adults, Learning & Development lead for Sussex

GT, Geraldine Turton, Brighton University, Apprenticeship Manager

IW, Ian Whittle, Reed RESTART, South Coast Partnership Manager,

JW, Justine Willoughby, Brighton University, Nursing Associate Programme Lead,

DWi, Deborah Wilson, NHS Sussex, AHP Strategic Education Lead


VC, Vivienne Colleran [part], University Hospitals Sussex (Chichester), Senior Lecturer Nursing Associate Placement Expansion

RJG, Renee Jasper-Griffiths, ESCC, Adult Social Care – PA Training and Development


  • DM, Donnalyn Morris, Skills East Sussex, Project Officer Employability and Skills
  • SBu, Stephen Burkes, Skills East Sussex, Project Manager Employability and Skills


HA, Holly Aquilina, ESCC, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager

SBe, Steve Benwell, DWP Sussex and Surrey, Senior Partnership Manager

HC, Henry Clayson, East Sussex Careers Hub, Project Assistant

AC, Amelia Culshaw, ESCC, Adult Social Care & Health Training

MDe, Mike Derrick, East Sussex Registered Care Association Chair

EG, Elaine Gausden, Bexhill College, deputy Head of Childcare, Health and Food Technology

HG, Heather Green, DWP, Team Leader Hastings

DH, Donna Harfield, ESCG, Vice Principal Business Development

CH, Colleen Hart, NHS Sussex, System Head of Workforce and OD (East Sussex)

KH, Karen Hartley, NHS Sussex, Head of Workforce Education

FH, Fran Highton, ESCC, Adult Social Care & Health Recruitment

RK, Ruth Keynes, Consultant to the Sussex Care Associations

NM, Nita Muir, Chichester University, Head of School of Nursing and Allied Health

VPo, Vanessa Potter, Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP), Executive Director

AP, Andrew Pritchard, Bexhill College, Assistant Principal

DWa, Duane Wadey, NHS Sussex, Lead for Widening Participation & Clinical Skills Project Lead

DWo, Debbe Wordley, Sussex Housing and Care