Agenda item

Agenda item


To receive a report on the position for Denbighshire County Council with regards to Recruitment and Retention issues and Workforce Planning activities (copy enclosed).



The Lead Member for Corporate Strategy, Policies and Equalities introduced the report (previously circulated). She informed members recruitment and retention had been included on the corporate risk register.

The report had been produced in order to provide the committee with up to date information regarding Recruitment and Retention issues within the council and the progress on Workforce Planning activities.


The Interim Head of Legal, HR & Democratic Services provided members with further information on the report. Alongside the report, 3 appendices had been provided to help support the report and its contents. Pre pandemic the authority had a number of areas which had been hard to recruit in to, these had been some of the lower paid roles and a number of professional roles. During the pandemic those areas had remained the main vacancies that had been difficult to recruit. Statistics had been provided to support the hard work on recruitment.

The main barrier the authority faced had been the level of pay. The authority pay structure compared to agency pay structures was often lower. Members heard that following the pay award agreed in April 2022 a significant increase in pay for lower paid roles would be more in line with similar roles outside the authority. It was hoped the increase in pay would aid the recruitment of these roles. 

Agile working was another concern noted by officers. The pandemic saw a number of roles across the job spectrum become more accommodating with working locations. This had impacted the recruitment and retention of staff.

Members heard officers were currently in consultation on a new way of working policy. It allowed employees more choice on where they work, it was hoped it would have a positive impact on the retention of staff along with the recruitment of staff from a wider area.

Following a review, officers highlighted one reason employees moved to other employment had been due to staff development. It was stressed training was provided to all staff and the development of staff to further roles.

Members were guided to the head count statistics, the figure for 2019 looked lower than previous years, that had been due to the 660 Denbighshire Leisure staff not being included. The statistics provided a quick reference for year on year staffing levels.


In summary, members heard officers were aware of areas of concern. Work with services was on going to recruit in to vacant roles. Social care in particular social workers was a key area of concern. This area was of concern across Wales and the UK as a whole.


The Chair thanked the officers for the detailed analysis of the report. He reminded members the reason for the report had been due to a request made from members. He reminded members a report was presented to the committee in October 2022 entitled Care Inspectorate Wales - Inspection of Intake and Intervention Service 2021. The report recognised the input of a high number of vacancies across the service. The committee requested further information on the delivery of other council services impacted by staff recruitment and retention issues. Any concerns raised on the delivery of services may be a governance issue and should be included in the Council Annual Governance Statement. He also reminded members that Internal Audit will be reviewing the effectiveness of the measures put in place later in the year.


During the debate the following points were discussed in more detail:

·         Within the headcount table, it was noted the Social care staff were included under the Community Support Service and Education and Children’s Service. Members noted it may not be easy to read and identify for the public to identify particular areas of concerns. 

·         Members raised the issue of more than one authority recruiting for the same roles causing ‘poaching’ of staff from other areas. Denbighshire officers continued to escalate concerns at local regional and national levels. It was noted the issued discussed in the report were UK wide concerns.

·         Further requests had been made through the representative bodies for consideration of a national pay structure in particular equality of pay with the NHS.

·         It was stressed that all options were being explored when addressing the concerns in social care, including grow your own, career pathways and trainee pathways. Any learning from those areas explored would be shared across other service areas in the authority.

·         Training and development of employees was a focus at meetings with services and work force planning. A number of different forms were reviewed. Members heard one of the five principals set by the Chief Executive was round staff development. It was hoped it would filter down to the people’s strategy, which focused on staff development.

·         Social care in Wales was delegated to the Welsh Local Authorities, a national pay structure would be a discussion for the Welsh Government.

·         Regionally an agreement had been made to not take agency workers from other local authority. The Health Board across North Wales did not use agency staff, it was often from a different pool of staff and did not cause any issue. An agreement from the Health Board had been to allow the authority use of bank nursing staff if required.

·         Lower paid jobs such as catering and cleaning had previously been an area of concern. This had not affected the service provided. The professional roles were taking longer to recruit to. The broad turnover rate across the whole organisation was at average or just below. Recruitment of staff continued, given the current environment that was more challenging. 

·         The committee requested officers to inform the committee if they identified any issues of the delivery of services due to staffing.

·         The action plan included in the papers, indicated the work that was being conducted through each service. The Lead Member was regularly updated and kept abreast of any concerns. Members heard a report had previously been presented to Performance Scrutiny with the intention to present an update to the committee at a later date. Any service concerns were escalated to the CET to ensure support was provided were possible.

·         The Chair supported, Performance Scrutiny receiving and debating the papers and updates. Members heard the papers were due to be presented to the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs for information with the intention to discuss the method to proceed. All members of the committee were in agreement to endorse the report and papers to be presented to the Performance Scrutiny committee.

·         Assurance was provided that HR performed a workforce planning exercises annually with every service. Included was succession planning and areas and roles within those services that would need to be addressed. The People Strategy will be all encompassing around workforce issues and look forwards at how the organisation develops to meet any challenges.

·         Collaborative work with partners had taken place and officers were open to looking at further ways of collaborative working. Members heard along with the official collaborative working close working relationships and informal joint working did take place and was beneficial.

·         The Monitoring Officer confirmed, officers would revisit the Audit Wales report on Springing Forward to look any extracts that could be presented alongside a report to Performance Scrutiny.


The Chair thanked the officers for the detailed response to members questions and concerns.


It was,


     I.        the committee noted the details contained within the report and the interventions that had been put in place in order to support and strengthen recruitment, retention and workforce planning.

    II.        The committee endorsed the report to be presented to Performance Scrutiny when discussed at the next Chairs and Vice Chairs committee meeting.



Supporting documents: