Wales hails ‘Care England’ advent
Caring Times, October 2013High five for social care merger
The merger of the two largest representative bodies for social care providers in England has been welcomed as a “very positive step”.
The English Community Care Association (ECCA) and National Care Association (NCA) will join forces to create a new organisation called Care England from next January.
They hope it will be a catalyst for more local, regional and national social care groups to work with them.
According to Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, the move was excellent news for the sector.
Mr Kreft, who is also a leading figure in the Five Nations group comprising the representative bodies for independent providers in Wales, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire, said: “It’s a very positive development and it brings together the two leading voices in England.
“It also has a wider significance as it is very helpful in the context of the Five Nations group because of the more unified voice in England..
“The last thing you want is a diluted message because it plays into confusion and can play into all sorts of vested interests.
“Having a single voice is essentially what we felt was necessary when we set up Care Forum Wales in 1993.
“We needed a single voice in Wales and I think everybody accepts that as a result we’ve made huge strides and now we have a very strong voice in each of the five nations.
“A good example is the co-ordinated campaign on VAT, led by Care Forum Wales on behalf of the Five Nations
“Post-devolution, this landscape makes a lot more sense and in an ideal world it would have been done a lot sooner.
“That said, the way things are being structured in the NHS in England, Wales and Scotland is different, while it’s been different in Northern Ireland for many years.
“It means you need that country specific single voice and equally we need to have the read across so that the creation of Care England can also support the sector across the five nations, contributing a strong voice for social care and emphasising the importance of the workforce.
“Raising the bar in terms of training and workforce development is relevant to the social care sector in each of the five nations and is a great example where greater cooperation can lead to greater benefits.
“Importantly, Care England will provide a place to go for politicians and decision makers so they can work with the key people who represent the social care sector.
“A great deal of credit is due to the people who have ensured we have arrived at a position where we have the two most important organisations in England joining forces for the greater good.”
ECCA chairwoman Jane Ashcroft and NCA chairwoman Nadra Ahmed said in a joint statement: “Our sector faces a period of considerable challenge which will require robust representation on behalf of our membership.
“For some time now our two organisations have been working together so it felt like the natural next step in our relationship.
“We believe that combining the two strong and respected organisations together will strengthen the voice of health and social care and give our membership a wider range of services.”