We ran an epic-level discovery about the possibility of a voluntary, employee-led register of the adult social care workforce in England, with Skills for Care, for the Department of Health and Social Care.
While there are versions of registration services for the social care workforces in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there is currently no equivalent service in England.
The discovery focussed on exploring attitudes and needs for a possible register amongst the English adult social care workforce.
A distinctive feature of this work was the trail of conversations about registration that was revealed amongst stakeholders, who were often able to make reference to previous policy work, and express strongly-held, informed, opinions.
However, we found no examples of previous user research to explore these issues amongst the workforce. And our research showed that members of the workforce did not have nearly the same understanding of the concept of registration that we heard from stakeholders
We conducted 20 user interviews with representatives of a range of user roles. And we ran 14 stakeholder interviews.
We also did a thorough landscape analysis, including studies of registration services in other sectors (construction, students, social workers), as well as drawing on the experiences of setting up and managing social care registers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
We identified and prioritised a backlog of 40 user stories, and then used these to develop three different concepts for versions of a possible registration service. We then tested these three concepts with members of the workforce, and recipients of care.
Our recommendations were an attempt to find the sweet spots where the policy intent, the user research findings, and the practical implications involved, aligned.
For example, we knew that there would be little value in making recommendations for a service that was not practical or affordable, even if there was strong user need and political will. So we paid particular attention to the infrastructure that may be needed to support a register for a 1.5 million workforce. The lessons from our landscape analysis were particularly helpful here.
We presented a detailed set of recommendations for DHSC to consider, supported by the user feedback on our concepts, and a set of possible alpha experiments to further explore our recommendations.