DRAFT DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES ANNUAL REPORT
To receive the draft Director of Social Services Annual Report from the Corporate Director: Communities, Modernisation and Wellbeing (copy enclosed).
12pm – 12.30pm
The Lead Member for Health and Social Care presented the Draft Director of Social Services Annual Report (previously circulated) to Members.
Every Statutory Director of Social Services in Wales was required to produce an annual report which summarised their views on the effectiveness of the authority’s social care services along with their priorities for improvement.
The Corporate Director: Communities, Modernisation and Wellbeing guided Members through the draft Director of Social Services annual Report. She stated that the report was for the last financial year and combined the progress of Children’s and Adult Social Care Services.
The demand on Social Care Services had increased and Social Care employees had worked extremely hard to meet the needs of their local communities. However, it was important to note that the social care service had not progressed as well as they would have liked, this was due to national challenges and budgetary constraints. Recruitment and retention were continuing to be difficult within the Social Care Sector.
At this juncture the Corporate Director welcomed questions from Members.
Members requested details on how social care services were trying to recruit employees into the sector. The Corporate Director informed Members that recruitment and retention was one of the biggest challenges facing the sector. Details were given on the Social Care Recruitment and Retention Working Group which met on a regular basis. The escalation of the challenges relating to social care staff recruitment and retention, and their potential impact on the Council’s ability to deliver services to residents, on the Council’s Corporate Risk Register highlighted the increased focus given by the Authority’s senior management team to this area of work. The Head of Adult Social Care and Homelessness Services stated that front line social care recruitment and retention was the biggest challenge for the Service at present, with external factors such as higher wages being paid by other public organisations for similar roles or for less stressful jobs within the retail sector exacerbating the situation. National organisations were currently working on potential solutions to improve local authority care workers’ terms and conditions and also exploring the potential of utilising overseas recruitment. Vacancies for positions were constantly advertised and aspects of the recruitment process had been relaxed to make it a more assessment-based process rather than an interview-based process. The team had visited schools and colleges to attract younger people into the sector.
Members questioned if there were plans to have an inhouse respite service for carers. The Head of Children Services informed Members that a business case was being developed for a respite service and it was a need that had been identified and were committed to implementing this in the future.
Members felt that the report did not give information on the aspects of the social care service that were not preforming well. Members requested data on the number of people who had been recruited and the number of vacancies within the sector. It was felt that this information would enable Members and the public to understand the context of the difficulties that the social care sector was facing. The Corporate Director advised that the report presented followed a specific structure with regards to the information contained within it and the audience that it was prepared for. The figures for the number of people recruited and the number of vacancies was constantly changing.
Members referred to the Micro-Providers Scheme and questioned the effect that the scheme was having on the care that was provided within the community. The Head of Adult Social Care and Homelessness Services told Members that the Micro-Providers were helping to deliver lower-level packages of care. There were currently 35 Micro-Providers within Denbighshire and 21 of them were providing personal care packages locally. Currently, 150 residents were having their care provided from Micro-Providers.
Looking ahead the Lead Member and officers advised that they were of the view that the greatest challenges for the forthcoming would be around rebalancing the care and support agenda, delivering preventative, intervention and safeguarding services with diminishing finite resources.
The Chair thanked the officers for their continued valuable work and for presenting the report to the Committee.
Following an in-depth discussion, the Committee:
Resolved: subject to the above observations, and having regard to the high profile and continued focus given to recruitment and retention pressures across the social care sector by the Council’s Corporate Executive Team along with the measures being implemented in a bid to address staffing shortages, to confirm that the report provided a clear account of performance during 2022-2023.
- Director of Social Services Annual Report 22-23 200723, item 8. PDF 243 KB
- Director of Social Services Annual Report 22-23 200723 - App 1, item 8. PDF 3 MB