Agenda item

The Recruitment and Retention of Staff Within Adult Social Care - An Update

Following the scrutiny panel’s 2022 review, Members will receive an update from the Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration in respect of the panel’s recommendations and the action undertaken in response.


In respect of the scrutiny panel's 2022 review of The Recruitment and Retention of Staff Within Adult Social Care, the Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration provided an update on the progress made with the implementation of the agreed recommendations / actions.  The following points were made:


  • Work in the department had progressed quite significantly since the investigation had taken place, and things had changed.
  • Following preliminary work and a paper being considered by the Leadership Management Team (LMT) around recruitment and retention support for staff, a change of direction followed to avoid the situation of a total loss of experience and only new experienced staff being in situ.  This involved changing the way in which Social Workers were able to progress through the ranks, and allowed more Social Workers to progress to more complex case handling without them needing to wait until such respective staff had left the organisation and effectively provided a vacancy.  This provided stability around core of workers.
  • Recruitment issues did continue to present themselves as work became increasingly complex, preparing for CQC inspections, etc.
  • In reflection of Children’s Services and work being undertaken in that area to reduce the use of agency staff, including the introduction of a recruitment and retention payment, a report would be submitted to LMT later this month with a proposal to incentivise potential staff to join Middlesbrough Council and remain for their career.  It was acknowledged that this incurred cost and therefore all recommendations would be scrutinised vigorously, with funding being provided through the budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan.  The service still operated with too many gaps in Social Worker complement and required a medium-term plan to fund it.  An update would be provided at a future meeting.
  • In terms of awareness raising, a fair amount had been undertaken, with Teesside University for example.  It was anticipated that the online learning module would be progressed in the coming months; this had been delayed due to staff being involved with CQC work and assessments.


During the discussion that followed, Members considered the role of agency staff, of which Adult Social Care did not currently use.  It was explained that a small team had been employed in the latter stages of the pandemic to assist with completing a small piece of work, but these had since left.  The market for Adult Social Care Social Workers was not the same as it was for Children’s Social Workers, therefore the supply was not comparable.  In addition, when agency staff were appointed, this often increased pressure on existing permanent team members because agency staff needed training up.  The Director explained that it had been a calculated position to not require agency staff.  Further, the service wanted to avoid the situation of not being able to deliver duties solely by permanent staff because, if this could not be achieved, CQC direction towards agency support would impact budgets.


The panel discussed the available routes into the social work profession, with reference being made to apprenticeships and University degree courses.  The importance of developing solid links with universities was highlighted, together with the significant impact that Social Work apprenticeships could have if worked as effectively as possible.  It was indicated that a small number of staff were currently training through the apprenticeship route.


The Chair thanked the Director for the information provided.



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