Agenda Item No.











The Committee was provided with an update in respect of current and future workforce challenges being faced within Social Care.  In summarising the report, the Head of Business Management and Innovation stated that the Welsh Government had expressed its strategic intent (to support a competent workforce within the social care area in Section 3 of Sustainable Social Services for Wales – A Framework for Action.  The Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales) 2014 would introduce even higher standards and significant training requirements without any commitment by the Welsh Government to provide additional funding.  Within the Vale of Glamorgan, there were over 2,000 people working in the social care sector and that these staff work in Council managed services and in services provided independently by the commercial and third sectors.  They provided support in a wide range of settings including people’s homes, residential and nursing homes and day service settings.


The Directorate was required to work with the wider social care sector and in the area to support providers in developing and delivering workforce plans for all staff. This would be achieved via a social care workforce partnership which comprised representatives from the Council, care sector and the further education sector.  It was hoped to identify and address gaps within training and ensure development opportunities were available across the care sector in the Vale and also to develop a productive relationship with local further education colleges. 


There was a strong relationship with trade unions in order to discuss issues, particularly around the restructuring of the service model. 


The Social Services Workforce Plan for 2013-17 had been developed and this was helping ensure that a sufficient, skilled, safe and focused workforce was available to meet assessed needs.  The service would need a flexible approach from its staff and workforce in order to develop new ways of working to meet future challenges.  It had been identified that within the service an aging workforce would require better succession planning and occupational support.  Registration of social workers was an important development established under the Care Standards Act 2000 and all staff on the register would have to show their suitability for work in social care by satisfying the Care Council for Wales that they had the necessary qualifications, were physically and mentally fit, were of good character and agreed to comply with the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers. 


The training programme for the service was developed annually and reflected training requirements identified through the Council’s personal development review process and by training returns submitted by social care providers from across the area.  Resources available to fund training were likely to reduce in the future and providers were finding it more difficult to release staff for training during normal working hours. 


A Committee Member commented that the development represented a considerable challenge for the service, particularly in relation to reduced resources and queried whether the service used exit interviews when staff were leaving the service.  In response, Members were advised that exit interviews were used and staff were encouraged to complete a survey or sit down with either a line manager or a representative from Human Resources.  The service takes on board any feedback received from individuals and officers consider the reasons given by staff when leaving.  Although the Authority had not pursued an Investor in People award, the views of the Authority’s staff and workforce were considered through close consultation and supervision arrangements, within annual personal development reviews alongside ongoing training and support functions.  In reference to Investor in People status, a Committee Member queried whether this was something that the Council should reconsider in order to encourage prospective staff to consider a career with the Council. 


Further to the Committee’s queries regarding an aging workforce, the difficulty in recruiting and annual staff turnover, Members were advised that the service was looking at these in detail and that there were a few hot spots, particularly in relation to the Youth Offending Service and intake into the Children and Young People Service.  Staff within older people’s Residential and Domiciliary Care were relatively low paid and would require higher standards of qualifications in order to pursue a long term career.  There was quite a churn within the residential / nursing care sector and this may be an increasing problem as the required skill sets and registration qualifications increased. 


A Committee Member enquired about the opinion of the Association of Directors of Social Services regarding the Registration and Inspection Bill.  In response, the Director of Social Services stated that proposed legislation appears to be somewhat equivocal;  the Bill was likely to call for new and higher standards and regulations for staff but may baulk at the need to impose registration on a wider scale. 




(1)       T H A T the issues regarding the social care workforce and challenges facing the Social Services Directorate in ensuring that social care services are timely, effective, safe and professional be noted.


(2)       T H A T the proposed changes to the Social Care Workforce Development Programme grant funding be noted.


(3)       T H A T Cabinet consider the possibility of the Council seeking to achieve an Investor in People accreditation.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To ensure that Elected Members can exercise proper oversight of a key function of the Social Services Directorate.


(2)       To ensure Elected Members are aware of funding changes that will have an impact on Social Services.


(3)       To help and improve workforce development and as a way to encourage prospective employees.





Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 6th October, 2014