Agenda Item No. 4(ii)


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 15 June 2015


Report of the Director of Social Services


The Social Services Workforce


Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Scrutiny Committee with information regarding workforce matters within Social Services


That Scrutiny Committee:


1.         Notes the issues regarding the social care workforce and the challenges facing the Directorate in ensuring that social care services are delivered in a timely, effective, safe and professional way across all sectors.

2.         Considers changes to the Social Care Workforce Development Programme (SCWDP) grant funding.

Reasons for the 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 recent funding changes that will have an impact on the training and development work undertaken by Social Services.


2.         The reputation of this Directorate for delivering highly regarded and value for money services is linked strongly to the fact that we benefit from having a skilled, engaged and motivated staff group.  The Council as a Directorate, Social Services remains committed to ensuring the recruitment and retention of excellent staff and a working environment which allows such staff to develop and give of their best.

3.         They are employed across a wide range of services, some of which operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The skills mix and level of expertise required to undertake this variety of roles is extensive.  At the end of March 2015, 619 staff were employed in the service, which equates to 511 Full Time Equivalent staff.

4.         At a time of budget constraints and rising demand, it is essential that we continue to focus on staff development and succession planning, especially in remodelling services to meet changing public expectations and other pressures such as the need for more integrated working across organisational and professional boundaries.  The next few years will require innovate approaches to training and development as the service respond to the duties set out in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act.  It will be increasingly important to be able to update and replenish the existing skill base.

5.         Beyond our in-house staff, there are over 1,500 people working in the social care sector in the Vale of Glamorgan employed by the commercial and third sectors.  They too provide support in a wide range of settings including people’s homes, residential and nursing homes, day services settings.  Many of these services are commissioned by the Council on behalf of people who are eligible for state-funded care and support.  The Social Services Directorate is required to work with the wider social care sector in the area to support providers in developing and delivering workforce plans for all staff

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The Workforce Plan for Social Services 2015 – 19 identifies the following key developmental themes for the service.

·         Ensuring fluidity in staff movement within and across team whilst providing a culture that supports staff through change.  The flexibility of staff will be a key component as services develop.

·         Increasing resilience within teams to ensure that changes in the skill mix enable us to use our diverse workforce appropriately and to operate services at the appropriate scale through collaboration with partners.  This will include reducing the amount of routine work done by our most professionally qualified staff and taking advantage of increased qualification levels at lower grades.

·         Integrating services across social care and health, which will require staff groups to work in different ways and across organisational boundaries.  This will mean not only developing management structures and business systems, but also changes in practice.

·         Encouraging staff to become more skilled in using new technology to support agile working and improve service delivery.

·         Placing further emphasis on having succession plans in place, as we have an ageing workforce (particularly at the Team Manager tiers).  This requires us to ensure that current and future managers are equipped with the skills required to manage modern Social Services through the implementation of a Team Manager Development Programme.

·         Helping staff to understand the requirements of major legislative changes, to identify implications this may have for our workforce particularly in terms of ratios of professionally qualified and unqualified staff.

·         Continuing to focus on reducing our reliance on agency staff.

·         Implementing the Continuing Professional Education and Learning (CPEL) Framework for Social Workers which aims to improve the standard of social work practice and to support social workers as they progress from being newly qualified to experienced social workers at the top of their profession.

7.         The training programme for social care in the Vale of Glamorgan is developed annually and reflects the training requirements identified thorough the Council's Personal Development Review process and the training returns submitted by social care providers from across the area.  The Programme also reflects the future requirements of the sector by including training to meet changes required due to legislative changes or service developments.  Training is made available to all social care providers across the Vale who are encouraged to release their staff to attend the broad spectrum of training available.

8.         In addition to training and development, there are a number of support mechanisms for staff within social services.  It is the policy of the Directorate that supervision is the right of every member of staff regardless of their role or grade or employment status (including permanent, temporary, part time, casual/relief staff or agency).  The provision of supervision and development opportunities to staff is part of good management practice and the establishment of effective working practices.

9.         There are four principal, interdependent functions of supervision:

·         To enable effective management of work to take place.

·         To facilitate staff development.

·         To provide support to staff.

·         To promote clear communication at all levels.

These provide benefits both to the organisation and individual members of staff.

10.      The staff turnover rates for the service in 2014/2015 was 7.92% (7.8% in 2013/2014.  By way of comparison, the CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey (2013) reported that the overall turnover rate across all sectors in the UK is 11.9% whilst the turnover rate for the public sector is 9.4%.  Data report by the Local Government Data Unit and WLGS indicates that the turnover rate in local authorities in Wales was 9.5% in 2013/2014.  We do well in recruiting and retaining experienced professionally qualified staff.

11.      The absence figures for the service showed a slight increase in average days lost per FTE in 2014/2015 for the whole service.  The figure was 12.65% as compared to 11.72% in the previous year.  The Service works hard with staff to assist them to remain in work and offers a range of support for those who are off due to ill health.  This includes access to occupational health services, reduced hours to support a return to work, access to a counselling service and redeployment if appropriate.

12.      The Directorate and vulnerable people in the Vale depend upon the professionalism of our staff, their commitment to delivering high quality services and resilience during a period of service transformation.  As examples of our work to ensure the right level of staff training during the past year, we have:

·         Delivered training for Day Services staff working with adults on the autistic spectrum and worked to raise awareness with a wide range of staff teams and external organisations such as education staff, Job Centre Plus, care providers, homeless services and eating disorder clinicians.

·         Continued to work with local providers of social care support to improve their skills and experience of providing support services to people using substances and those undergoing rehabilitation/treatment as many more of them receive their support closer to home.

·         In partnership with Cardiff Council, delivered training for staff to ensure that they are delivering the new Integrated Assessment Process.

13.      The Performance Development and Review System (PDRS) was revised during 2014/2015 and staff from across the services are required to have an annual review.  An annual qualification and training needs audit is completed for all Vale commissioned social care sector providers and an analysis of the audit and PDRS data enables training to be planned on the basis of the needs of the whole social care sector in the Vale.  The process helps us to monitor the qualifications of staff within the regulated services and provides training to support them to meet their targets.  We can also demonstrate that 31% of all training provided during 2014/2015 was delivered to the independent/voluntary sector which is an improvement on our performance in 2013/14 and above our 25% target.  This is a result of improved working with the sector and tailoring of the training programme to meet their particular needs.

14.      During 2015/16 we will consider the options for increasing the scale on which social care training is delivered in partnership with other local authorities.  We will plan a programme of training to support the changes planned within Social Services in the coming year.  This will include issues arising as a result of preparing to implement the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act and the changes being made to services as a result of service reconfiguration and integrated working.

15.      The annual training programme is responsive to the development requirements of the social care workforce.  In the main, our staff provide positive evaluations regarding training opportunities made available to them.  Feedback from the Welsh Government about the way in which the Vale uses central government workforce development grants indicates that the work in the Vale is moving in the right direction.  Further work however is needed to evaluate the longer-term effect on practice.

16.      Training and Staff Development is funded to a considerable extent by the Welsh Government via the Social Care Workforce Development Programme.  This annual funding stream provides grant funding to support the Directorate to deliver its requirements with regard to the social care workforce.  Increasingly, local authorities are required to work together to ensure that the level of training provided can meet the needs of the sector.  For the first time, the 2015/2016 bid for funding to Welsh Government had to be submitted on a regional basis.  For the purposes of this grant the Vale works with Cardiff Local Authority and the Director of Children Services in Cardiff has recently taken on the role of lead Director for workforce issues for the region.

17.      Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Social Services Directorates have a proven record in working together to manage, develop and deliver quality services that meet the needs of the local population.  During 2015/2016 we will work on this positive foundation to establish a joint training and development service that can support staff across the social care sector in the region to ensure all staff are trained and supported to undertake their roles.

18.      We will also work towards the establishment of a Regional Social Care Workforce Partnership that will provide strong leadership and direction for the sector, ensuring appropriate representation and engagement from all parts of the sector, and from users and carers.  It is planned to have this in place by September 2015.  With the support of the new regional partnership the training plan and the implementation plan for the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act will be aligned to ensure, as a sector, all organisations are ready in April 2016 to deliver the new duties for social care.

19.      There are also considerable ramifications for the social care workforce as a consequence of the Regulation and Inspection Bill Wales.  The proposed timetable for the Bill is as follows:

·         October 2014 - Drafting of the Bill.

·         February 2015 - Introduction of the Bill into the Assembly.

·         June 2015 - Stage 1 Committee to report to the Assembly on general principles.

·         July 2015 - Stage 1 General principles debate.

·         Provisionally November 2015 - Stage 4 vote.

·         End of 2015 - Royal Assent.

20.      Potentially, the Bill will increase considerably the duties of service providers, especially in taking responsibility for the skills and conduct of staff, including :

·         Regulation and inspection will be based on people's outcomes, service specific quality standards and expectations.

·         The service regulation regime will move from just compliance to compliance and quality.

·         Providers will be required to produce an annual report which will include information on outcomes and complaints.

·         A quality judgement framework linked to outcomes will be introduced.

·         A service-based regulatory model will be introduced.

·         The responsible individual and service provider requirements will be overhauled.

·         Registration fees will be considered.

·         Annual reports from providers and local authorities will be published in a standard format, comparable across all providers.

·         A new duty will be placed on regulators to share information when a citizen's wellbeing is in danger.

·         There will be new annual position statements from local authorities, setting out the local arrangements for care now and in the future.

·         Regulators will be required to assess corporate and financial robustness of key providers.

·         The Care Council for Wales will be reconstituted as a National Institute of Care and Support to further professionalise the workforce and to deliver service improvement.

·         The current approach to registration of the social care workforce will continue, with new groups considered as appropriate.

·         Welsh Government will have extensive new powers in areas such as regulation of training, professional recognition on registers and reserved functions.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

21.      Training in Social Services is supported via the Social Care Workforce Development Programme from the Welsh Government which provides financial assistance to local authorities to meet the training requirements on the social care sector.

22.      The SCWDP grant is intended as a 'significant supplement' to employers’ own resources to provide training and development opportunities across the social care workforce.  The grant is distributed using the Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) formula with 70% of the total spend being funded by grant and 30% funded by the local authority.  In 2015/2016, for the Vale of Glamorgan, the total spend to be supported via SCWDP is £389,779.

23.      The level of funding available directly to local authorities to support has been reduced in the current year and this is likely to continue.  In addition, there is likely to be increased prescription about meeting central government objectives.  The potential impact of any changes in this area on the development and support opportunities available for social care staff across the sector is being assessed currently

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

24.      There are no sustainability or climate change implications arising directly from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

25.      The Social Care and Well-being (Wales) Act will have considerable training implications for staff across the care sector, although the full impact of this will not be clear until all of the details in the regulations and codes of practice are known.

Crime and Disorder Implications

26.      There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

27.      All training and development procedures and opportunities are made available to staff across the social care sector in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Corporate/Service Objectives

28.      This report meets the corporate objective "Develop a new HR strategy including a Training and Development strategy ensuring that staff are supported and engaged to provide services to the highest possible standard".

Policy Framework and Budget

29.      These are matters for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

30.      There are no matters in this report which relate to an individual ward.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

31.      Social Care and Health.

Background Papers

Continuing Professional Education and Learning Framework for Social Workers (CPEL)


Continuing Professional Education and Learning Framework for Social Workers (CPEL)


National inspection in respect of the role of the Statutory Director of Social Services, CSSIW


Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014, National Assembly for Wales


The future of regulation and inspection of care and support in Wales White Paper, Welsh Government


The national career pathway for Social Workers, ADSS Cymru


Contact Officer

Carys Lord, Head of Business Management and Innovation


Officers Consulted

Social Services Management Team


Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services