Council takes drastic action to tackle staff shortage

A staff shortage crisis has led to the council taking drastic action to recruit more frontline workers.

The local authority is facing a “significant number of workforce pressures across key, lifeline services”, pushing it to the brink.

Retired staff are being invited back to work, while current employees are being offered more working hours – or a second job.

Meanwhile, council and partner health board chiefs are so desperate to recruit more health and social care workers that the usual employment admin process will be cut from weeks down to one to two hours.

A series of recruitment roadshows are being organised, and it is also being proposed the council spends up to £15,000 on a broad advertising campaign.

Councillors will discuss the staffing issue at the response, renewal and recovery committee on Tuesday.

A report produced for the meeting states: “Staffing pressures have been exacerbated by consequence of Covid.

“This has led to a reduced workforce in both frontline and support services, increasing workloads, reducing levels of resilience and capacity to address challenges or deliver solutions.”

A workforce task group has been set up to address the challenges, and focus has been placed on filling vacancies across departments including roads and infrastructure, social work, education support, customer services, leisure and sport, revenues and benefits, homelessness, facilities management and transportation.

A pilot recruitment event has been scheduled for Monday at the Bridge in Dumfries.

This will be followed by a series of recruitment roadshows in November at which candidates will be able to undertake a fast-track application and interview process.

The health and social care sector – run jointly by the council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway – also does not have enough employees to deliver care at home packages.

The council report states: “Currently there is a significant amount of unmet care at home need in Dumfries and Galloway.

“Recruitment and retention of the staff required to deliver these care packages has been highlighted as the most significant challenge.”

Following a special request from council chief executive and health board chief executive Jeff Ace, another task group has been created specifically for increasing recruitment and retention within care at home services.

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