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Council to launch recruitment campaign

Created on 05/02/2019 @ 10:27
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Social media will be used to spearhead a campaign to recruit more social workers to Powys, it has been revealed.

Head of Children’s Services, Jan Coles, was quizzed about her three-year improvement plan for the under fire department by members of the Health, Care and Housing Scrutiny Committee.

Part of the problem in the crisis hit department has been an over-reliance on agency staff, which has cost £2.3 million during the past year.

At the moment Ms Coles is looking to restructure the department and has been consulting staff on the changes. The recruitment would be the next step.

Ms Coles said: “Behind the scenes we have a team of people from right across the council, from HR (Human Resources) to Comms, Property, everyone you can imagine that we’re going to need. What we need to do is attract social workers.”

Ms Coles explained that existing staff will talk about why it is good to work in Powys as the central theme of a social media campaign.

Ms Coles added: “Lots of people are really committed to Powys and we need to capitalise on that in a recruitment campaign. It’s not going to cost us too much as it’s largely going to be social media.”

But Ms Coles, explained that the restructure needed to be done first before the recruitment phase.

She added: “We’re not going to be able to reduce our reliance on agency staff in my view, until we offer jobs that are doable and that where we are at the moment.

“The restructure will enable people to have jobs they can do well and develop expertise in. We need permanent social workers, that’s my aim, that way we will be able to reduce our costs.”

Cllr Daniel Rowlands, who first brought up the question of recruitment, asked: “What is the ideal amount of agency staff?”

Ms Coles answered: “You will always need some flexibility in the workforce because, they will come in and do a job and go when it’s finished, so we’ll always need them.

“What I’m unsure is what the figure would be, but we have way too many now, we’re using agency staff to keep us afloat and that can’t be right.”

Cllr Jackie Charlton, who chaired the meeting, said: “I think it will be important to monitor the recruitment campaign as it’s one of the biggest savings. £2.3 million has been spent on agency staff which is a massive part of the budget. To reduce that by 50% is going to be crucially important.”

In January 2019, Care Inspectorate Wales CIW published a report following an inspection in October 2018.

They said the department had made “significant improvements” but they still had “serious concerns” on many issues.

This followed the publishing in October 2017 of a damning report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), now known as the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).

This revealed missed opportunities to safeguard children, poor risk assessment and serious performance issues with front line services.

In January 2018, the CIW gave the council a warning letter after a follow up visit to the authority. Following the first report in 2017, £6 million was pumped into the department to turn things around. Another £6 million has since been added to that.

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