United Response, the national disability charity, has become the first employer organisation to gain recognition under the National Skills Academy for Social Care’s endorsement framework.

The recognition is based on an in-depth assessment of the charity’s renowned learning and development programme.

At the same time, the charity (www.unitedresponse.org.uk) can confirm that it has been recognised for its commitment to equal opportunities with the award of the Investors in Diversity level 2 standard from the National Centre for Diversity. United Response is one of the first voluntary organisations to achieve Investors in Diversity accreditation following an in-depth assessment by the Centre’s diversity experts which proved its long-standing commitment to and good practice on diversity and equal opportunities matters.

The National Skills Academy for Social Care focuses on leadership, management, commissioning and excellence in learning. Created by employers, for employers, its role is to aid the delivery of improved care by supporting and promoting excellence in learning and training. It is governed by a board made up of a 15-member group representing the spectrum of care employers: individuals, sector partners and small, medium and large care providers.

The Academy’s reviewers said of United Response: “The impression gained throughout the review was of an employer that makes a significant contribution to its workforce and service users. A transparent message throughout is of an employer who invests in internal training and development and has a workforce committed to maintaining high quality adult social care”.

The Academy’s endorsement framework is intended to set the highest possible standard for training and development in adult social care, and provide a tool for self-evaluation and quality improvement. Step 1 is the Recognition status, and step 2 is the Excellence Award. United Response now intends to apply to become the first employer to gain the Excellence Award.

“We are delighted to be recognised by two such prestigious organisations. We have always treated learning and development as a major priority and invested in it accordingly,” says Su Sayer, chief executive. “We do this for the simple reason that skilled, happy and motivated employees are essential if we are to give the people we support – whether those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or mental health needs – the opportunities in life they deserve.

“That’s also why equal opportunities and diversity are so important to us: if you can draw from the largest possible number of potential employees, and provide an environment where they can thrive, the result will be that we do much better work for the people we support. We will strive to maintain our standards and to remain one of the best social care employers in the country.”