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Recruitment campaign cuts agency staff dependence

Created on 13/09/2020 @ 08:49
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

The number of agency workers at Powys County Council’s (PCC) Children’s Social Services, has dropped during 2019/20, as recruitment drives bear fruit.

Employing so many workers on short term contracts had been blamed in the past for the rising costs in Children’s Social Services, which has gone up to over £25.3 million a year.

The number of agency staff being employed there, was one of the major issues identified in two critical reports by Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).

At the Health and Care scrutiny committee on Friday, the figures were brought up, as councillors discussed the draft annual Director of Social Services report for 2019/20.

Cllr Susan McNicholas, said: “I can see that the number of agency workers has drastically gone down to 29, as of April.

“How many were we employing prior to April?”

Director of Social Services, Ali Bulman, replied: “When we were at the height of agency use we had 43 in Children’s Services.

“Adult Services has been much lower, single figures, which is business as usual.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Gwilym Williams, asked for an expansion to the explanation of why the figures had dropped?

Ms Bulman, said: “There’s been a couple of aspects. There has been a huge recruitment drive to enhance that, we’ve done a lot on social media, we’ve had staff talking about their experiences working in Powys to try and attract people here. We’ve done a lot to demonstrate how accessible Powys is.”

She explained in a recruitment campaign they had shown that Powys is, “closer than you think” to major cities and towns.

Ms Bulman, added that new staff intake “spoke positively” about their experiences of working for PCC, and that this was being shared in the social work community circles.

Ms Bulman also explained that retaining existing staff had also been vital.

“That is just as important if not more so than recruitment because if you retain good quality staff you don’t need to bring new staff through the front door, said Ms Bulman.

Portfolio holder for Children’s Social Services, Rachel Powell, added: “We’ve also successfully recruited agency staff, some to senior posts.

“That demonstrates how people believe in the work ethic and principles we are trying to push.

“There’s still work to be done, but it demonstrates the stability of the workforce.”

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