Social Care sector worth more than £60m locally, report reveals

Colum Conway, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Social Care Council.
Colum Conway, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Social Care Council.

The Social Care sector is worth more than £60 million to the local economy in the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area, according to a new report.

‘Assessing The Economic Value of the Adult Social Care Sector’ reveals that there are almost 3,000 registered social care workers in the council area, representing an economic value of £66 million per year to the district.

The report was launched alongside another publication, ‘Social Care Matters’, as Northern Ireland’s Social Care Workforce Regulator called for the sector to be recognised as one of national strategic importance.

Speaking at the launch of the reports, Northern Ireland Social Care Council Chief Executive, Colum Conway said: “The Social Care workforce is our most valuable asset. To underestimate its value to society and its contribution to the transformation of our services will be to our detriment.

“Supporting employment for over 100,000 people, the Social Care Sector makes a vital contribution to the citizens of Northern Ireland. It helps people live as independently as possible, protects people from harm in vulnerable situations and offers essential help at times of crisis. Its value is also evident on the impact it has on reducing delayed discharge, avoidable admissions and inappropriate long stays in hospital.

“However, the contribution it makes to the economic growth in Northern Ireland – through jobs, through business, through skills development and through community cohesion - is often overlooked. As the largest part of the health and social care workforce, with 34,000 registered staff (4% of NI workforce), it is estimated that a further 9,000 jobs through more than 500 employers are supported here. With the local economy benefiting by £821 million per annum, the sector is therefore integral to both the social and economic wellbeing of Northern Ireland.

“As pressures and demands increase; with an aging population, a rise in complex and long term conditions and a reduction in public sector resources, the time is now for local and central government, providers of social care and those engaged in supporting business development, to take collective leadership and work in partnership to invest in a sustainable social care workforce for the future.”