More than 100 organisations urge First Minister to value social care staff in 2024-25 Budget

110 organisations from across civil society, including providers, anti-poverty groups, faith leaders, carers’ representatives and equality organisations, sign joint letter sent to the First Minister calling on him to increase pay

110 organisations have signed a joint letter sent to the First Minister calling on him to increase pay for social care staff and demonstrate that they are valued.

The letter, led by the Coalition of Care & Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), is supported by organisations from across civil society, with social care providers joined by anti-poverty groups, faith leaders, carers’ representatives and equality organisations, among many others.

Read the letter and full list of signatories

In September’s Programme for Government, the First Minister announced a new base rate of pay for social care and support staff of £12 from April 2024, increasing from the current rate of £10.90.

As our letter explains, the pledged rate of £12 matches the updated Real Living Wage – sending a clear message to social care staff that they are only worth the bare minimum.

CCPS and signatories to the letter believe that £12 per hour is simply not enough, and that the proposed rate fails to reflect the invaluable societal contribution made by social care staff in supporting people to thrive and live independent lives.

Rachel Cackett, Chief Executive Officer of CCPS, said:

“Social care is at the heart of the First Minister’s vision for ‘Equality, Opportunity and Community’ in Scotland. Yet it is systematically overlooked and undervalued.

“Organisations that provide social care are rapidly losing staff because the current pay of £10.90 is simply too low to retain them and they migrate to better-paid jobs elsewhere.

“It is a scandal that, in communities across Scotland, people who need support to live, thrive and stay independent, can’t get it because there aren’t the staff available.

“As the First Minister will see from the range of signatories to this letter – the first time so many organisations have come together to make a joint call on this issue – we represent an emerging movement who are determined to bring social justice to social care and support.

“We are all clear that a better decision on pay for social care staff is needed in the 2024-25 Budget due to be published next month.”

(ends)

Media contact: Chris Small – chris.small@ccpscotland.org

Notes for editors:

▪ Staff vacancy rate in social care sector

Earlier this year, with the HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF), CCPS commissioned the University of Strathclyde to conduct a workforce benchmarking survey. In July we published an executive summary from the report finding that social care and support providers in Scotland are struggling with a loss of staff, with an average of 52% of those moving jobs last year leaving the social care sector altogether. Read the report. Read our media release.

▪ Proposed increase to £12 per hour, and Real Living Wage

The proposed rise from £10.90 per hour to £12 per hour for not-for-profit social care staff was announced on 5 September in the Programme for Government. The new rate of £12 for the Real Living Wage was announced on 24 October.

▪ 4 Steps to Fair Work

CCPS’s 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign (June – October 2024) called on the Scottish Government to properly recognise and reward social care staff for the work they do. It shared blogs and video contributions, including from a support worker who said that earning £10.90 per hour means “You can survive, but you can’t really live.”

▪ CCPS

The Coalition of Care & Support Providers in Scotland is the voice of not-for-profit social care providers, with 91 provider organisations in membership.

Joint statement: Scottish Government’s Winter Plan ‘offers no hope for social care’

Our CEO Rachel Cackett and Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO of Scottish Care, respond to this week’s publication of the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Winter Preparedness Plan 2023-24

As the CEOs of Scotland’s two major umbrella bodies representing providers of care and support in the third and independent sectors we are dismayed to see yet another Winter Plan which purports to be a whole system response for Scottish citizens but in fact offers almost no hope for social care.

Both of our organisations have attempted to convince both the Scottish Government and CoSLA that the plan was wholly insufficient to address the deep crisis facing our members and a system that is meant to uphold the rights of individuals who require care and support.

We have tried to be constructive in those discussions to which we have been invited, but have certainly not been engaged in any way as equal partners in finding solutions for a system in which our members deliver key public services for some of our country’s most vulnerable individuals and families. This document reflects that. The marginal changes made to an early draft following our strong criticisms do not allay the fundamental concerns we shared.

In particular, we note a deeply disturbing direction for social care providers and, ultimately, for those who rely on services to maintain independence and connection and prevent crisis:

Where necessary, local systems will prioritise social care and support services for those who need it most and are considered to be at a critical or substantial risk level.

In the current climate, where we already see social care budgets being depressed to the detriment of people and, indeed the wider system, we fear this will be read as carte blanche to remove or reduce funding for many people who need support. This cannot be allowed to happen.

We hope that the Cabinet Secretary and CoSLA leaders will clarify their intentions in including this statement and do significantly more to underline their commitment to a thriving social care system for which they wish to share accountability through a National Care Service.

Rachel Cackett, CEO, CCPS, and Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO, Scottish Care

 

Statement: “With promised £12 per hour base pay no more than the Real Living Wage, social care staff need action now to show they are valued”

Our CEO Rachel Cackett responds to today’s announcement that the Real Living Wage will rise to £12 per hour

Responding to today’s announcement that the Real Living Wage will rise to £12 per hour, CCPS’s Chief Executive Rachel Cackett said:

“Back in September, the Scottish Government announced a £12 per hour base rate of pay for social care staff, starting in April 2024. Today, we know that this offer is no more than the new Real Living Wage amount, which will be introduced at the same time.

This means that many not-for-profit social care staff – who work with disabled people, older people, children, families and many others who need support in communities across Scotland – will now receive just the minimum the Living Wage Foundation calculates is needed to meet every day needs.

This is nothing like enough.

Before the new base rate and RLW kick in next spring, social care staff will have to navigate the winter months as an acute cost of living crisis continues, whilst many earn just the £10.90 per hour currently set by the Scottish Government.

The First Minister’s states his priorities are “Equality, Opportunity and Community”. These priorities are at the heart of social care. Yet a workforce that makes such a vital contribution to society, to supporting people to thrive and live independent lives, continues to face inequality and limited opportunities through poor government pay awards. The knock-on is a lack of available support for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Investing in the value of social care is a political choice, and there is still time to make the right choice in the 2024-25 Budget. We know public finances are tight. We know we won’t get to parity of pay, terms and conditions for equal work with public sector colleagues overnight. We are very far from that now.

But we need to see a clear step to closing the pay gap in April next year and a plan to get to equality; a move towards showing staff that they are truly valued.

So, we are calling on the First Minister to up his offer to at least £13 per hour for all social care staff from April 2024 as part of a published timetable to achieve Fair Work.

Not as an end point, but to indicate in tough times that our government sees the value of our sector and is committed to ending deep inequities for social care staff in Scotland.”

4 Steps Comment: “The door is open. Now we need to push it a bit further”

Our CEO Rachel Cackett reflects on the disappointments and successes of our 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign – and what our emerging movement can do next in its fight for social justice

“You can survive, but you can’t really live.”

Those words from Derek, a frontline social care worker, have echoed around my head during our #4StepsToFairWork campaign. They describe what it feels like to live on the amount the Scottish Government makes available to our members to pay staff who provide support to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.  People we all clapped through COVID. The people who might work to support my family or yours.

It’s the quietest national scandal that, behind doors in streets and villages across Scotland, are people who need support to live, to thrive, to be well, to stay independent, who can’t get it because there simply aren’t the staff.

It’s the quietest national scandal that social care and support staff working in our sector – the vast majority of them women – are paid 20% less to deliver public services, from our taxes, than people doing equivalent work in the NHS.

So, at the start of 2023 we decided it was time to stop being quiet and call for better, loudly.

Our demands weren’t huge.  Simply, we wanted all staff to get at least £12 per hour from April 2023 as the first step of a public plan to pay people fairly. A plan to give staff, and the people they support, hope.

And our #4StepsToFairWork campaign began to snowball.

Frontline staff and CEOs from our member organisations stood up and spoke up. And then others joined.  Carer Organisations, Scotland’s Faith Leaders, partner organisations, people with experience of care and support all spoke up through blogs, emails to MSPs, social media posts. I would like to personally thank every one of you who did so.  In a sector, based on the rights of people to exercise choice and control about their own care and support, our diversity and our voice are our strengths.

Then, early in our campaign, our new First Minister stood up to give his first speech to the Scottish Parliament.

We waited.

“Equality, Opportunity, Community” he said. Those are the government’s new priorities.  “That’s social care!”, we thought.

We waited…

A commitment to £12 an hour, he said.  “At last!”, we thought. The voices had been loud enough for him to hear.

But then he gave no date.

A crisis heard, but half a promise made. And a crashing disappointment for the thousands of committed staff in our sector, and to the leaders trying to keep their organisations open.

140 days later the date came in the Programme for Government – £12ph from April 2024. We hoped for a mistake in the speech, but no. A year late and by then, again too little.

And no plan.

Of course I am disappointed that the voices of so many have not resulted in our asks being met in full. That the national scandal of the Scottish Government baking in inequity to social care, and leaving people without the support they need, remains. But is it over? Absolutely not.

The door is open. We just need to push it a bit further.

Your voices were so loud, your arguments so clear, that our new FM knew he had to make a commitment to our sector in his first speech. We shouldn’t ignore this; we should build on it.

For the first time, the pay award has been extended to those working in children’s services: A first inequity addressed through our campaign.

The collective, public, voice of our sector and our allies is building to bring social justice to social care and support. Nurturing that emerging movement in the run-up to elections, as parties set their new priorities, is crucial.

And finally – and importantly – let’s remember that the £12 announcement might be made, but the Scottish Budget is not yet passed.  Every MSP has an opportunity to speak up to call for more, for better.  All of us can still call on politicians, whose core job is to allocate tax payers’ money to fund priorities for our nation, to make a better decision.

So, our #4StepsToFairWork campaign concludes today; but our campaign for better for our sector does not.

Watch this space….

Blogs, video contributions and resources from our 4 Steps campaign (June – October 2023) are available to read here

News: Final podcast episodes amplify quality and good practice

Our final episodes in the Insights series, launched today, feature lively discussion about ethical commissioning principles in social care

CCPS’s focus on ethical commissioning principles in social care continues with the release today of the final two episodes in our Insights podcast series.

The podcasts feature a range of experts sharing their views on the ethical commissioning principles developed by the Scottish Government.

Episode four explores high quality care, with Dylan Macdonald’s guests discussing how to support the move to outcomes-based commissioning and contracting and a focus on quality, not price.

Joining the debate are Geoff Mark and Innes Turner from the Care Inspectorate, part of Scottish Government, alongside Toby Lowe, Visiting Professor at Centre for Public Impact.

For the final episode, the spotlight is on good practice examples across the care sector and the positive impact of moving to an ethical commissioning approach.

Guests include Amy Hurst, Head of Practice at Collaborate CIC, SallyAnn Kelly OBE, Chief Executive Officer at Aberlour, and Gary Wallace, Public Health Specialist at Plymouth City Council.

Catherine Garrod, CCPS’s Programme Manager (Commissioning and Procurement), said:

“We’ve been delighted by the reaction to the podcasts and the level of engagement from across Scotland’s social care sector since we launched this new series.

“These final two episodes feature lively debate and expert voices from very different social care backgrounds. Anyone with an interest in delivering on ethical commissioning principles in social care will want to listen to them so they can be part of the dialogue.”

The Insights podcasts series is produced by Spreng Thomson.

Listen to the podcasts on Spotify 

Find out more about CCPS’s Commissioning and Procurement Programme

 

Media statement: Programme for Government social care pay announcement “fails to grasp reality and begs questions over timeline”

Our CEO Rachel Cackett responds to today’s pledge from the First Minister

Responding to today’s Programme for Government announcement, the Coalition of Care and Support Providers’ Chief Executive Rachel Cackett said:

“We welcome the fact that the Scottish Government has recognised the issue of fair pay for social care staff.

“However, today’s announcement represents a failure to grasp the reality of what’s happening in social care in Scotland. It falls way short of what is required and what we’ve called for through our 4 Steps campaign.

“Social care staff needed an immediate pay increase, backdated to April of this year, as a first step in bringing them security – and giving a sense of consistency for the people they support.

“Any further delay will heap pressure on the workforce and services during a prolonged cost of living crisis and through another extremely challenging winter period.

“We’ve called for pay uplifts to be applied to staff in all services, not just those in registered adult social care, and we’ve urged government to deliver funding packages that value the vital role of support staff and managers, alongside frontline workers.

“Anything less than this contributes to distortion in the sector, undermines staff morale and, again, impacts on the quality of relationships and consistency of support for the people in our communities who most need it.

“We are confused by the disparity between the content of the First Minister’s statement at Holyrood and the detail of 2023-24 policy priorities outlined in the letter to the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, also published this afternoon.

“In the former, a pay uplift to £12 per hour was expressed as a firm commitment. In the latter, an increase ‘up to £12 per hour’ for adult social care is described as an option to be evaluated. Which is it?

“As a matter of priority, the government must confirm the commitment to a pay uplift with an absolutely definitive timeline, and no backtracking.

“We will be seeking more detail and pushing for clarification about the introduction of the £12 pay uplift, which the First Minister announced 136 days ago.

“We will continue to collaborate with Scottish Government to ensure that fair work can be delivered for social care staff – and we will continue to work to ensure that our campaign calls are answered.”

4 Steps Comment: Today, the First Minister has the chance to introduce a step change in social care. Will he take it?

The Programme for Government could answer our campaign calls and make a real difference in people’s daily lives, writes Rachel Cackett

It’s been a long year already.

It’s only just turned to autumn, but today is the announcement of the Programme for Government. And for many people in Scotland, the things that really matter in life will turn on announcements made by the First Minister this afternoon – announcements that will show whether the FM’s priorities of “community, equality and opportunity” mean something tangible for the one in 25 people who will access social care this year and all who are employed to provide that support in not-for-profit providers.

For many it’s been a very long year.

If you are someone in need of care and support to stay in your own home or community, to live your life on your own terms, to thrive in your neighbourhood, work or school, you’ve long felt the crisis in social care. You may well have found it difficult to get your needs assessed, or keep the amount of support you need, or to hold on to the valued and trusted relationships as staff are forced to leave our sector.

If you are the loved one of someone who needs care and support, you may well have wondered how on earth you get your mum, dad, child, partner or friend the support they need – and how you get the help to make possible your crucial role as a carer. You’ve watched life become harder for those who need support most. You may be tired, and we know it can begin to feel hopeless.  

If you are a third sector social care and support worker, you’ve seen your real terms income decrease and the gulf between the value given to the work you do and that given to those in the public sector stretched to the limit. Your role in being a part of the very community you serve is lost in the national conversation. In fact, you may have left the social care workforce already, like over 50% of those who moved jobs in our sector at the last count – making the tough choice between a job you love and the need to pay bills for your own family.

If you are a third sector employer, you have probably spent sleepless nights wondering how you are going to keep the show on the road with far less money coming in. You know you need more to keep your staff and pay going, all while trying to meet the increasing needs of your communities through a cost-of-living crisis.

Today, the First Minister could make the beginnings of a step change to all of that.

We know that the historic underinvestment in social care isn’t going to be solved overnight. But it’s 136 days since our new FM promised a starting salary of £12 per hour.  None of those who need a functioning, thriving social care system to live can wait a minute longer for action.

That is why CCPS has been building support for its #4StepsToFairWork campaign over the summer.  We’ve had support from providers, social care staff, carer organisations and, at the end of August, the support of Scotland’s faith leaders. I would like to thank each and every person who has made their voice heard in this.

And let’s be clear. We have heard many imperatives – economic, equality, social justice, human rights, moral imperatives – to delivering Fair Work for those who provide care and support.

Our calls our simple.  And they will be our measure of any announcement today on the move towards parity for those who provide care and support in our sector, and recognition of the importance of upholding the rights of people who need that support.

The calls are:

  • Deal with pay inequality: As a first step, implement the promise of a minimum of £12 per hour for social care staff, starting from 1 April 2023.
  • Ensure equal pay for equal work: Apply pay uplifts to staff in all services, not just those in registered adult social care.
  • Value all staff who play their part: Deliver funding packages that value the crucial role of support staff and managers, alongside frontline workers.
  • Give us hope of equality: Publish a timetable by this September to deliver fully on Fair Work in Social Care by 2025.

So as a final message this morning to our First Minister: please don’t tell us there is no money. We know how tight things are. Instead, tell us how you are choosing to allocate a fair proportion of the money you do have to our sector. Show us how you will ensure your priorities mean something real in people’s daily lives. Tell us that you recognise the true value of social care.

Read more about our 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign

News: Insights Podcasts give voice to discussion of ethical commissioning principles

We’ve launched a brand series of podcasts on the vital issue of ethical commissioning, with experts from across the sector sharing their views.

The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) today launches a new series of podcasts focusing on discussion of ethical commissioning principles in social care.

The podcasts feature a range of experts sharing their views on the implications and application of ethical commissioning principles developed by the Scottish Government.

The principles were introduced to promote the move to more collaborative, outcomes-based commissioning and procurement practices that support high quality, person-centred care, fair work, sustainability for providers and real choice and control for individuals under Self Directed Support (SDS).

Introducing the new podcasts, Catherine Garrod, CCPS’s Programme Manager (Commissioning and Procurement), said:

“If fully implemented, CCPS believes that the ethical commissioning principles could make a real difference to the way that social care support is commissioned (planned), procured (purchased) and delivered.

“A move away from traditional price-based competition to greater collaboration and outcomes-focussed commissioning and contracting will lead to better outcomes for individuals, support that meets people’s needs, greater sustainability for third sector support providers and a workforce that is fully valued and rewarded for the work that they do.”

“Our new podcasts feature provocative and thoughtful discussion of these issues from a variety of expert voices. We hope they’ll be of interest to CCPS members and everyone in our sector committed to delivering on our shared vision for ethical commissioning in social care.”

Produced by Spreng Thomson and hosted by Dylan Macdonald, the first three podcasts in a series of five are launched today. They are:

1. Overview of ethical commissioning principles and why they matter

In this first episode, we hear contributions from Dr Catherine Needham, Professor of Public Policy and Public Management at the University of Birmingham, Rachel Cackett CEO of CCPS, and Andrea Wood, Convener of CCPS and CEO of the social care provider Key.

Introducing the topic, Catherine and Rachel share their views, experiences and learning regarding ethical commissioning and the impact it has for the sector, as well as everyone involved in social care. Later in the episode Andrea Wood discusses the importance of procurement principles, touching on many of the aspects explored by Catherine and Rachel.

2. Person Centred Care, SDS, supporting a diverse market of support

The second podcast features contributions from Pauline Lunn, CEO of In Control Scotland, Linda Tuthill, CEO of The Action Group, and Des McCart, Senior Programme Manager Improvement Hub (ihub) at Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

The group look at the importance of having a diverse market of support for individuals to choose from and why it is vital people are involved in the decision-making behind their support provider and support needs.

3. Fair Work in practice and financial transparency

On this podcast we hear from Anna Fowlie, CEO of SCVO and Viv Dickenson, Chief Executive of CrossReach.

Episode three focusses on how changes to the way support is commissioned, procured and contracted can help deliver fair work. The contributors also discuss the positive impact that can come from embedding fair work in contracts and sustainable rates, and the value of effective training and workforce development.

The podcasts were commissioned by the CCPS Commissioning and Procurement Programme, which is funded by Scottish Government

Over the course of the series, contributors will examine other key themes, including the importance of person-centred care in light of the pandemic; the relevance of appropriate language and how terms such as ‘bed blocking’ undermine empathy and understanding; and the need for those in receipt of care and support to experience genuine autonomy.

Listen to the podcasts on Spotify 

Find out more about CCPS’s Commissioning and Procurement Programme

NCS agreement: “We need to shape the detail”

Responding to today’s announcement of an agreement between Scottish Government, local authorities and the NHS on the National Care Service, Rachel Cackett says that genuine partnership and participation is key

Responding to today’s announcement from the Scottish Government about an accountability agreement with CoSLA and the NHS on the National Care Service, Rachel Cackett, CEO of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers, said:

“We welcome the Scottish Government and CoSLA’s efforts to find ways of progressing social care reform.

“However, there is very little detail in today’s announcement about what has actually been agreed, and how it will work in practice.  We hope this won’t simply result in the status quo continuing.

“Social care providers – like many others – need to be involved in shaping the detail so that expert views and experiences are reflected in the final legislation and in the way much-needed reform is delivered.

“We look forward to working with the three parties involved in the agreement announced today, alongside all those with experience of social care, in a way that reflects genuine partnership and participation.”

Media Release: Report reveals reality of staffing crisis in social care, with more than half of those moving jobs last year leaving the sector

Scale of challenges facing providers uncovered in new study of workforce benchmarking

Social care and support providers in Scotland are struggling with a loss of staff, with an average of 52% of those moving jobs last year leaving the social care sector altogether, according to a new report.

In the study of workforce benchmarking in the sector, almost three quarters of surveyed organisations reported a significant rise in staff turnover in 2021-22.

Seventy-three per cent of organisations delivering social care said their staff turnover rate had increased since 2020-21 – a jump of 14% in a single year and an indication of year-on-year rises in social care staff moving jobs.

Responses captured in the 2022 Social Care Benchmarking Report demonstrate the scale of sector-wide recruitment, retention and staffing challenges organisations are experiencing now.

The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) and the HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF) commissioned the University of Strathclyde to conduct the benchmarking survey and analysis for member organisations.

The Executive Summary of the report is published today and is available to download here.

The study also found:

  • Average turnover across respondents was 25%, an increase of 5.5% from the figure reported in 2020-2021.
  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents noted an increase in their use of agency staff (the most expensive staffing option) – building on the 45% who had noted an increase in agency use the previous year.
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents reported that their recruitment needs were higher than in the previous year, an increase of 6% from the 2020-2021 Benchmarking Report figure of 75%.
  • On anticipated future recruitment needs, 46% of respondents reported that they expect hiring staff will involve more difficulty and 54% projected the same difficulty.

Rachel Cackett, Chief Executive of CCPS, said: 

“The headline results of this benchmarking survey are stark and confirm what our provider organisations have been telling us over the past year: retention and recruitment of staff is the dominant issue in a sector that is under intense pressure.

“It’s a situation that has only worsened since this data for 2022 was captured, as differences in pay between not-for-profit social care providers and the public sector have widened yet further.

“This report points to an exit of staff across organisations, resulting in a loss of current expertise; a loss of potential talent; and a massive undermining of key services.

“It’s a loss that has an impact on achieving what we all want to see: people thriving by getting the support they need at the right times and in the right places, with consistent relationships at the heart of that support.

“This is the reason we’ve launched our 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign, which calls on the Scottish Government to take the measures long needed to deliver on investment and reform and set the sector on the route to Fair Work.

“We want to see social care organisations hold on to their workforce, to have the resources to develop their people – and for their staff to finally be fairly recognised and rewarded for their public service.”

Kevin Staunton, Chair of the HR Voluntary Sector Forum, said: 

“As Chair of the Forum, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our members who were able to participate in the survey this year.

“For years our sector has heard many warm words about parity of esteem and being seen as an equal and key partner in the delivery of social care in Scotland. This report, building on previous years’ results, provides a strong and indisputable evidence base that the reality our people experience on a day-to-day basis is very much different and the sector cannot continue to operate on the goodwill and unfulfilled aspirations of our workforce indefinitely.

“I hope that in a year’s time positive progress has been made to make the investment and reform which has often been spoken about become a reality. Our Forum members welcome the opportunity to work positively with others to make this happen. The people we support and the people our organisations employ deserve better.”

(ends)

Media contact:
Chris Small: chris.small@ccpscotland.org.uk

Notes for editors

  • The HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF) and Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) commissioned the University of Strathclyde to conduct the benchmarking survey and analysis for member organisations.
  • With thanks to the team at the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Work, Employment & Organisation and their colleagues at the universities of St Andrews and Middlesex.
  • The study involved 26 participant organisations, 73% of which provided social care primarily to adults. Housing support for adults formed the largest proportion of services (40%), followed by support services for adults (34%).
  • 4 Steps to Fair Work: find out more about the CCPS campaign
  • Attached 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign image by Ross Richardson – please credit the illustrator if used in print or online.
  • CCPS is the voice of the not-for-profit social care providers in Scotland. More information here.
  • The HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF) is a CIPD special interest group of third sector organisations and individuals. The Forum supports practice and information sharing alongside commissioning research relevant to the third sector workforce to inform and influence national decision-making.