Competition for staff could hamper adult social care reforms, warns East Riding councillor

A senior East Riding councillor has said he fears the council may struggle to recruit more staff needed to implement the adult social care pay cap locally.

By Joe Gerrard (Local Democracy Reporting Service)
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 8:05 pm
Council leader Jonathan Owen said while the reforms, including an £86,000 limit on personal spending for social care, were excellent news, staffing and implementation costs could complicate the process.
Council leader Jonathan Owen said while the reforms, including an £86,000 limit on personal spending for social care, were excellent news, staffing and implementation costs could complicate the process.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Environment and Climate Change portfolio holder Cllr Chris Matthews told fellow cabinet members competition for more staff to implement the reforms could hamper recruitment efforts.

Council leader Cllr Jonathan Owen said while the reforms, including an £86,000 limit on personal spending for social care, were excellent news, staffing and implementation costs could complicate the process.

It comes as council Interim Adults and Social Care Director Gill Vickers told the cabinet roughly £1.12m would be needed to implement the reforms the Government announced in September.

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She added the council needed to work quickly to get as much from the £162m which the Government has allocated to help councils implement the reforms as possible.

East Riding Council has already been allocated £1m from the fund but Ms Vickers said more could be given if they could demonstrate a need for it.

The cabinet heard the number of people it expects to deal with could double from 5,000 to 10,000 once the reformed system is launched in October 2023.

Councillors heard the council would have to open social care accounts with locals which could then be used to track how close they are to reaching the £86,000 cost ceiling.

Councils will have to pay for social care once the threshold is reached.

The director said the increase was expected because it would be dealing with people who currently fund care through their own means.

But she added the council already had backlogs in social care assessments and reviews.

The cabinet also heard at least 30 new staff members would be needed to get the reformed system ready before its launch.

Cllr Matthews said he was concerned about filling the roles given it would be competing with other councils for staff.

The portfolio holder said: “Other councils will be going through the same process so there could be a national shortage as local authorities will be working to the October 2023 deadline.”

Cllr Owen said the reforms were a super initiative for locals but the details of how local authorities would make them happen were not fully fleshed out to begin with.

The leader said: “From our residents’ point of view its excellent because it will give them the ability to keep more of their own life savings.

“But there are unknowns for us, we don’t know what our pay award will be in the next few years which could bring additional costs and we’re not sure what the funding situation will look like.

“Also, if we get the staff now will we still keep them a year or 18 months from now?

“We need to move with as much haste as possible on this.”