‘Adult social workers wondered if they had a future role’
Richmond Council has made the biggest improvement in its overall vacancy rate, reducing it from 36% in 2010 to 8%. Cathy Kerr, Richmond’s director of adults and community services (pictured), said:
“We did a lot of work last year to understand why we compared so negatively with other areas. The children’s rate has been reasonably steady; we were underperforming in adult services – and that’s where we’ve made significant improvement.
“Over 90% of our adult service users are on personal budgets. But, in 2009, we realised that our whole workforce was still using the old, community care delivery model. So we remodelled our workforce, and we took the decision not to recruit to any more posts while we went through this.
“At the end of last year, we began recruiting into the new structure. Once all of our existing permanent staff had been moved into their new posts, we went about filling the vacancies. A number of posts were filled by staff who had been agency workers, because they realised that the new structure meant we would not need so many agency staff.
“There is a lot of pressure on frontline teams to make sure they are managing resources efficiently, as well as making sure personal budgets are meeting needs. We might need to be flexible in terms of staffing because of budget constraints. We have agreed to keep our vacancy rate at around 10%, to give ourselves room to manoeuvre.”
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