Cabinet Member: Councillor Dafydd Meurig
To receive a report on the above.
*10.35 – 11.35
A general report for information by the Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Well-being. The report was first presented by the Senior Business Manager in November 2018, revealing the initial findings of the work done by CELyn company, looking into the recruitment and retention of domiciliary care staff.
Since then and on a wider scale, 'The Workforce and Recruitment within the Care Field' had been one of the Council's strategic priorities for 2018-23. The purpose of the report was to introduce a work programme.
Members' comments were expected, which were to be fed into the four work streams - namely pay, working conditions, workers' specialist skills and job profiles; in order to think of the best way to communicate and market staff recruitment in future.
· In response to a Member's question, the Cabinet Member noted that a group had been established and had commenced the work of mapping the current situation in order to identify any gaps which existed. The group included key officers from the Workforce Development Unit, Human Resources and Internal Provision. It was anticipated that other services would be drawn into the process over the coming months.
· The Member Support and Scrutiny Manager noted, as this work was ongoing for the unit, that the committee had made a decision the previous year to put the scrutiny investigation into the subject of Recruitment Difficulties on hold for the time being. One element of importance which needed to be recognised within the mapping work was the foundational work commissioned by the Mid Wales Healthcare Collaborative. Two Members of this committee had undertaken some scrutiny of the group's work, and therefore these experienced Councillors had an important contribution to make to mapping work.
It was expected that the mapping work would be completed by October 2019.
Pay and Working Conditions
The following discussion was presented by the Cabinet Member, while the Senior Business Manager - Adults, Health and Well-being and the Corporate Support Advisory Services Manager provided more detailed input around the work programme.
· It was noted that the service was of the opinion that there were inconsistencies in working terms and conditions within the independent sector and the internal provision across the field. It was noted that work to transform domiciliary care aimed to reconcile the variety which existed in the interest of the sector.
· It was explained that the work of transforming domiciliary care placed the focus on removing wastefulness from the current system. The service was of the opinion that it would be possible to fund improvements to working terms and conditions by identifying those elements which did not add value, and redistributing the money. In addition to improving working terms and conditions, there needed to be a change in the way we commissioned in future in order to provide staff with longer term work assurance and working patterns which ensured an improved work-life balance. It was also noted that work in the domiciliary care field was more developed than that of other fields, but that this work stream also provided an overview across the care field, including Residential / Nursing and Learning Disabilities. It was acknowledged that the work stream was ambitious and that it would be challenging.
It was expected that domiciliary carers' salary levels across sectors would be reconciled by April 2021.
Planning the Workforce - Specialist Skills
At the meeting, it was agreed that a good career pathway was needed within care, one which would provide training and nurture our own talent; through professional trainee programmes, apprenticeships, and work experience in collaboration with colleges and universities. An example of this existed in Gwynedd for students studying MA courses in Social Work and Occupational Therapy.
· A Member expressed the need to market these careers in a way which would attract both men and women. Currently, most posts in the care field were filled by women.
· The Members also perceived an inconsistency between Northern and Southern Gwynedd in terms of the staff recruitment provision.
· The importance of putting the right messages across to staff was emphasised by reflecting the imminent changes, developing good communication and marketing resources, and ensuring that the principles were easily understood.
· The Officers noted that time had been allocated for the Members to express their concerns in workshop sessions on the subject, and encouraged all Members to attend.
· It was agreed that there was a need to look at the way jobs were targeted in marketing, focusing on the purpose of the post and why it was needed.
It was noted that it was anticipated that this work would commence during July and August 2019.
Status, Image and Profile of the Post
It was noted that it was a legal requirement for frontline staff in the field of care across Wales to be registered with Social Care Wales. Staff perceived that they were burdened with more requirements and responsibilities but that there was no financial acknowledgement of this. Despite this, it was noted that there were benefits to the change and that this could contribute towards raising the status of jobs within the field.
The Members were asked to draw the service's attention to the concerns of staff in order to investigate and respond to those concerns. Following an expression of concern regarding outsourcing the domiciliary care provision in particular, the Senior Business Manager - Adults, Health and Well-being explained that the change which was afoot did not mean a change to the current balance in terms of the percentages of internal and independent provision within the market.
· It was noted that the Council's language policy would be material in terms of the internal provision, and that linguistic requirements on the independent sector would be set and monitored by agreement.
· A Member noted that recruitment in the field of dementia was a problem in Southern Gwynedd. It was confirmed that forums across Gwynedd were in discussion with health around this matter. The Member added that there was a need to look into the possibilities of an improved training system for domiciliary carers in order to educate them on various professional skills within the field.
Domiciliary Carers had to be registered by March 2020. Residential Care Workers had to be registered by March 2022.
As well as regularly reporting to Performance Monitoring Meetings, there was a need to monitor the work programme's progress through the Cabinet Member's performance reports. The Cabinet Member was to use the Scrutiny Committee to report on the work's success, but also as a means to draw attention to any barriers which prevented the service from completing these steps. This matter was not to be brought back for scrutiny.
The Chair thanked the service for the presentation, and expressed the need to convey back to the Scrutiny Committee before going to Cabinet, for the reasons raised by the Members.
The Cabinet Member said that an informal meeting could be held with the Chair and Vice-chair in order to discuss the comments.
· That the Cabinet Member would present the Committee's comments at the Performance Monitoring meeting.
· The report was accepted.
The meeting commenced at 10:30am and concluded at 12.05pm.