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Stark situation facing adult social care recruitment in Cardiff laid bare

A COUNCIL official has laid bare the continued difficulties with recruitment in adult social care after being asked about the departments level of underspend.

Director of adults, housing and communities at Cardiff Council, Jane Thomas, spoke about the challenges facing social care at a community and adult services scrutiny committee meeting on Monday February 28.

According to Cardiff Council figures, the authority has seen a £1.82 million underspend in adult services for 2022/23.

During Monday’s scrutiny meeting, in which councillors were given the opportunity to discuss the council’s budget proposals for 2023/24, the committee chair, Cllr Bablin Molik asked why this level of underspend had come about.

Jane Thomas said: “There are a number of issues really. One is that we can’t recruit staff.

“As you will be fully aware, I think we are on 14% social work vacancies at the moment which is disappointing. We are continuing to work on that.

“The underspend is really about internal services rather than the provision of care, but also because of the pressures on the budget we have been trying to off-set expenditure through grants for example to make sure that we do underspend and it helps with the overall council position.”

Recruitment is an issue across the council. The authority revealed that it it could be getting rid of about 178 posts as part of this year’s budget proposals.

Council figures show that an estimated 50.9 of these will be voluntary redundancies.

As part of its budget proposals, the council is looking to transition to providing more of its internal supported living services via third sector providers.

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This could result in a net reduction of 37 posts. Almost half of these are expected to be voluntary redundancies.

When asked by Cllr Molik why people are considering voluntary redundancy in adult services, Ms Thomas added: “There has been a bit of uncertainty and many of the staff have said that they want to move on in terms of internal supported living.

“That is their choice and everyone was asked as part of the budget process if they wanted to go for voluntary severance.

“We haven’t picked on this service particularly. A lot of staff have said that they want to put in for severance.”

Cardiff Council’s cabinet will meet to discuss the budget proposals at a meeting on Thursday March 2 before the they are voted on at a full council meeting on Thursday March 9.