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Recruitment and retention problems facing the local authority

BRIDGEND COUNCIL say they are trying to find ways to improve recruitment and retention problems facing the local authority this month, after a scrutiny meeting laid out a number of issues.

The report heard by council bosses revealed how between April 1, 2022 and December 31, more than 20% of job adverts, or one in five posted for positions in Bridgend Council received no applicants, despite the level of advertisements having increased significantly-with around half of appointments coming internally.

It also highlighted that staff turnover for 2021/2022, which is calculated by the numbers leaving the organisation as a percentage of the average headcount, was 13.09% or 402 individuals.

While this figure was not considered particularly high, the overall impacts were said to be dependent on the nature of the roles in question.

The report read: “It is critical for the council to be able to recruit and retain a sufficient number of employees with the right skills to deliver council services and priorities. This is increasingly important at a time of growing pressures on services.

“Councils are continuing to report recruitment difficulties and like many employers across the UK, are operating in a challenging recruitment market, with high vacancy rates and skills gaps in some key areas of services.”

The talks came after well publicised issues with recruitment in the care sector last year, with Bridgend’s social services undergoing a review where the problems of staff recruitment and retention were both highlighted as areas that needed to improve.

Recruitment and retention are now recognised as risks for the council as reflected in its Corporate Risk Register, with a number of steps recommended to improve the situation.

Steps taken will include regular workforce reports being prepared for the Corporate Management Board, as well as quarterly reports that include workforce analysis on headcount trends and turnover.

The use of dedicated recruitment campaigns such as those created for social work and social care, as well as the introduction of exit questionnaires for leavers, and regular staff surveys to understand the views and opinions of the workforce.

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Temporary cover options involving the use of agency workers could also be used in the short term for hard to fill roles such as lawyers and social workers, while schools across the borough will be encouraged to raise awareness of apprenticeship schemes within the authority.