COVID-19 workforce survey research report, 2 June 2020

This is report is part of a series of bi-weekly surveys of all councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland collecting key workforce data on how the sector is responding to COVID-19.

Research

An online survey is emailed to heads of human resources, or a nominated contact, in councils from England, Wales and Northern Ireland on alternate Wednesdays. The data requested relates to the week ending the preceding Friday. The intention is that this collection is the single national source through which such data is gathered and it will, as appropriate, be shared with government departments and others in addition to providing comparator information for councils. 

This report relates to the survey sent out on 20 May. The overall response rate was 59 per cent, and covered around a third of the total workforce. 

Key findings

  • Some 25 per cent of councils reported recruiting additional staff (of any type including casual, agency, contingent, etc) in the week ending 15 May 2020. In total 988 additional staff had been recruited: the median number of staff per authority was four and the mean was 21.
  • A third of councils (73) recorded deaths in service since lockdown. A total of 114 deaths were reported (cause not specified). 
  • Twenty-one per cent of councils reported that they had furloughed at least one member of staff. In total there were 5,328 staff furloughed in the week ending 15 May 2020, which was one per cent of the current workforce. Of those councils that had furloughed staff, the median number furloughed was 45 and the mean was 116 but this varied considerably across different types of authority. The main reason given was that the service had stopped (58 per cent) or that funding had stopped (34 per cent). 
  • Some 86 per cent of councils had redeployed at least one member of staff. In total there were 16,425 staff redeployed in the week ending 15 May 2020, which was 3 per cent of the current workforce. The median number of staff redeployed was 50 and the mean was 82. 
  • More than nine out of ten councils (91 per cent) reported that they had at least one member of staff unavailable for work. In total there were 41,484 staff unavailable for work in the week ending 15 May 2020, 8 per cent of the current workforce. The median number of staff unavailable for work was 42 and the mean was 198. 
  • Nearly two-fifths (39 per cent) of staff were unavailable through ‘self-isolation’ and 30 per cent were unavailable due to ‘Non-COVID sickness’. 
Publication cover - COVID-19 workforce survey report - 2 June 2020
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LGA
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