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Skills social care workers need to support personalisation

Jo Moriarty (Research Fellow, based at Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London, London, UK)
Jill Manthorpe (Director, based at Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London, London, UK)
Michelle Cornes (Senior Research Fellow, all are based at Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London, London, UK)

Social Care and Neurodisability

ISSN: 2042-0919

Publication date: 6 May 2014



The purpose of this paper is to consider what implications the government's policy of personalisation has for social care workers in terms of the skills that they need to achieve more personalised support for people using services and family carers.


A total of 86 semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a purposeful sample of social care commissioners, family carers, representatives of voluntary organisations and carers’ workers based in four contrasting localities in England.


Participants highlighted the need for social care workers to have more specialist knowledge both about different complex health conditions and about services in their locality. The need to offer tailored support to carers that took account of the time they had been caring and the particular issues that they faced in terms of the health problems that the person for whom they cared was emphasised. The relational aspects of care are important.

Research limitations/implications

This was an exploratory study and may need to be replicated before generalisations could be made.


Existing published research on personalisation rarely discusses its implications for the social care workforce in terms of their skills. There is also still only a limited literature looking at personalisation from the perspective of family carers and those working with family carers.



The authors are most grateful to all participants in this study and to those who assisted with interviewing and other parts of this research project. The authors thank Carolyn Barber, Jenny Wilding, Mark Barton, Elizabeth Dunning for assistance with data collection and Elizabeth Dunning for help with data entry and coding. Voicescript, Laptop Confidential and Virtual Outsourcing provided transcription. This paper reports independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of Health/NIHR.


Moriarty, J., Manthorpe, J. and Cornes, M. (2014), "Skills social care workers need to support personalisation", Social Care and Neurodisability, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 83-90.



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