The delivery of personalised support to vulnerable older people is largely contingent on those staff who provide direct care. These care workers play an invaluable role in supporting vulnerable older people that may have increasingly complex needs either at home or in care homes. Internationally, concern has been raised both about the recruitment and retention of care workers; and their skills and competencies because of their importance in the delivery of quality care services. Using both primary and secondary data, this paper explores commissioning and contracting arrangements for domiciliary care and care home provision in England and their influence on the recruitment and retention of staff in these services. The implications of the findings are discussed in the context of two factors which influence continuity of care, a proxy for quality services for older people: training opportunities for staff and factors affecting the supply of labour from which direct carers are traditionally recruited. It is suggested that some of the drivers of quality in the provision of care may not be susceptible to the influence of commissioners and providers. Nevertheless, training may aid the recruitment and retention of care workers and provide one way in which they can promote a higher standard of care for older people.