9 July 2021
Commissioning letter to the MAC for the review of adult social care
By Vibha Angre, Legal Intern
The MAC has been commissioned with this responsibility since the Government in the House of Lords undertook a commitment during the consideration of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withrawal) Act 2020 to look at the impact the Act has on the social care worker sector. The government has laid down specific objectives that the MAC is required to analyse. The letter states that the report on this issue is due by the end of April 2022. This article breaks down the letter and highlights the important section contained therein.
What is the MAC?
The Migration Advisory Committee is an advisory non-departmental body that is sponsored by the Home Office. This is an independent, non-statutory, non-time limited body that is tasked with the responsibility of advicing the UK government on matters related to migration. Professor Brian Bell, the recipient of this letter is the Chair of the committee.
What is the letter commissioning the MAC to do?
The letter commissions the MAC to “undertake an independent review of adult social care and the impact the ending of freedom of movement has had on the sector.” At the House of Lords, the Government has committed to look at the impact the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawl) Act 2020 has had on the adult social care sector and has tasked the MAC to specifically look at the impact the Act has had on:
- The adult social care workforce: this includes looking into skills shortages, the range of roles in adult social care like care workers, registered nurses, and managerial roles.
- The different visa options that are available for social care workers.
- Workforce recruitment, training, and employees terms and conditions and what the long-term consequences are on these aspects of the adult social care sector.
- Other relevant matters that the Chair deems appropriate and relevant to the above three objectives.
The MAC has been commissioned to make recommendations on the above points and determine what is the best course of action to take. The MAC has also been informed that if any of the recommendations are related to matters that are devolved, then the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, or the Northern Ireland Executive will bear the responsibility of determining what steps will need to be taken.
What powers has the MAC been granted to complete this task?
The MAC has been granted the freedom to consult with devolved administrations, government departments, local authorities, and other stakeholders that the committee deems necessary.
The MAC has also been adviced to engage with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) “to ensure the work complements the wider reform work being undertaken by DHSC.” The MAC will be privy to information regarding policy developments in Adult Social Care and is also granted the power to seek information on developments awaiting formal agreement on a confidential basis. They may also engage with parties like the Skills for Care and their equivalents in devolved nations for the same purpose.
Is there a new approach to this Commission?
Since this commission process has been issued following a commitment made by the Government to Parliament, this commission will require a slightly amended approach from what is usually followed.
The Parliamentary process requires reports to be laid in Parliament before they are made public. The MAC will follow this process as well and due to the report’s cross-cutting nature, the committee will also need to make copies of the report available to relevant individuals in No. 10, DHSC, and the Home Office 48 hours before the report is presented to the Parliament.
This approach is done to ensure a coordinated Government response prior to it being laid before Parliament and to allow for necessary preparatory administrative action to take place. Once, this process has been completed, the MAC has the freedom to publish the report.
The letter concludes by stating that this new approach does not have any implication on future commissions with the MAC and that future reviews will continue in the manner of the framework as agreed upon by the Home Office and MAC.
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