AN ACTION plan to improve recruitment and retention of staff across social care roles is showing signs of success despite delays due to Covid-19.
Vacancies in some departments, including social workers, are at the lowest level of recent years, a committee heard as it discussed an update of the social care workforce plan 2018-21.
Members of the social care overview and scrutiny committee were told that the focus on training and developing internal staff was proving effective, “the recruitment of carers continues to be a key challenge.”
In response to Covid-19 a fast-track recruitment campaign was successful, with 24 staff being recruited 15 of whom are now going on to permanent employment in council care settings.
Director of social care and housing Jonathan Griffiths added that this was despite an innovative approach to recruitment, with plans to improve supply of care workers in both authority and private sector.
“Currently we are in a very healthy position in terms of our staff position with very, very few vacancies, particularly in the social work side of the business,” he added at Thursday’s (November 5) meeting.
The emergency response to the pandemic has slowed progress in some areas of the action plan, members were told, as resources were realigned to cope with the “rapidly changing environment.”
Cllr Simon Hancock asked about the impact of Brexit on domiciliary care workers – both in house and in the private sector – and was told that the council had encouraged all EU nationals employed to ensure they applied for settled status.
Mr Griffiths said that there were around 30 to 40 individuals in that position and his understanding was most had done so.
Cllr Vic Dennis said: “One thing Covid has taught people is that just because people are low paid they’re not necessarily low skilled. Just because someone has a limited number of skills it doesn’t mean to say they don’t use them brilliantly.”
Bringing the direct payments scheme in house was also highlighted by Cllr Hancock, who was told that following a review it was believed it would improve the service rather than recommissioning to an outside body.