The heads of Human Resources of Greater Manchester, supported by North West Employers’ own Keith Power, met to discuss how to best manage their collective capacity to serve the local area now and in the future.
Local authorities continue to face particular challenges relating to the workforce of Children’s Social Work Professionals. The recognition of the ongoing under supply of the key resource of experienced social workers and the need to respond to regulatory assessments of inadequate services, points towards collaborative arrangements being an important solution component. At national, regional and local levels the pressure to secure the recruitment and retention of experienced social workers has resulted in competitive behaviours between authorities that have increased costs for the sector without addressing the key underlying issues of delivering an improved supply of skilled and experienced permanent staff.
Surveys amongst the workforce indicate that pay is not the key driver of instability and significant vacancy levels. Further analysis of social worker pay through the ’Epaycheck’ pay benchmarking service identified numerous incentives and payments to attract staff and a trend of increasing pay ranges for ‘scarce’ categories of staff to attract or retain. Shortages in suitable experienced staff have led to dependence on expensive agency staff with consequential uncertainty about the stability and quality of significant workforce resources with authorities often experiencing a 20% vacancy rate.
“The Greater Manchester area is embracing the idea of looking past short term goals at the wider picture and working more collaboratively to best manage their collective capacity.“
Keith Power – Director Workforce & Employment at North West Employers
National and regional work on supply, retention and the use of third party agencies will benefit all parties. The development and sharing of improved approaches is now being accelerated within the North West. GM authorities have recognised that a more collaborative and forward-thinking approach is required to address the issues of sustained satisfaction, support and development in the workforce, combining both short-term actions with a commitment to a more strategic approach. The GM authorities clearly see they have the opportunity to pave the way for real change, North West Employers will facilitate a further meeting to look at tangible action points and define a clearer vision for the future. Furthermore they will support these developments and similar approaches in the region, connecting them to national developments, reporting any updates and results through our Leading the Way articles.
If you would like to be involved in this ongoing work or are interested in joining the conversation then please do not hesitate to contact us.
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