Council chiefs in Lambeth, south London, have ordered a recruitment
freeze in social services because of confusion over how many staff
work in the department.
The council’s executive committee voted for the freeze to new
recruitment after chief executive Faith Boardman admitted she was
unable to obtain an accurate number of employees that worked in
During her review of the department, Boardman was only able to come
up with a staffing level ranging between 809 and 1,228 full-time
equivalent staff, a gap of 419.
Boardman’s review also found there were possibly hundreds of agency
staff working in the department causing serious cost pressures and
posing a “major threat” to the council’s stability and department’s
ability to sustain recent improvements in practice.
In an attempt to address the problem and save £750,000 this
year, the council plans to cut the number of agency staff it
It also plans to only replace staff where savings can be made and
to assess the workloads of full-time staff.
Roger Giess, executive member for social services at Lambeth, said:
“There haven’t been the controls on the recruitment of staff in
social services that there should have been.”