Taking an evidence-based approach to understanding the capacity challenge in councils.
As part of the drive to improve workforce data, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) have asked the LGA, through our programme of improvement, to collect quantitative and qualitative data regarding:
- council use of agency staff
- senior pay benchmarking
- current and future capacity needs in skill shortage areas
- key HR indicators needed to benchmark progress.
All of this aims to improve how national government and agencies, regional partners and local councils can respond to address these challenges.
A key aspect of this approach will include working with regional employer's organsations to maximise the usefulness of this data for councils.
If you are a director or head of one of these services, and haven’t received a survey, please contact [email protected] and we will send you a personal link to the survey immediately.
Why do we need to survey councils on workforce capacity?
The data we are collecting will be used as follows:
Improve the evidence base – although councils have reported that certain roles are difficult to recruit to, there is limited service-level data that explains the reasons or points to solutions for tackling capacity issues in certain professions. Building a robust national ‘business case’ for national investment in service-specific skills development solutions for councils is essential.
Government understanding in more detail why councils are having to use agency staff – agency spending is increasing year on year due to pressure on recruitment and needs to be addressed. Longer-term solutions are needed to tackle the lack of workforce supply, and this needs investment and better partnership working across the sector. Having robust service-level data to explain why councils are having to use agency staff will help the sector develop more effective solutions to reduce council spending on it.
Developing longer-term plans – surveying councils to understand their longer-term recruitment and skills needs is a key part of long-term planning, showing what staff investment is needed now to reduce capacity issues for specific services in the future. There is a lack of service-level data to help create regional and national level workforce plans, which would help address councils’ long-term skills and capacity needs.
Workforce capacity surveys
As part of this work, we are conducting some online workforce capacity surveys to capture council data on the use of agency staff and the current and future capacity needs in the following skill shortage areas:
- Adult social care – The survey was first distributed on the 25 October 2023
- Building control (in partnership with Local Authority Building Control, LABC) – the survey was first distributed on the 16 October 2023
- Environmental health (in partnership Association of Chief Environmental Health Officers, ACEHO) – the survey was first distributed on the 23 October 2023
- Finance (in partnership with CIPFA) – the survey was first distributed on the 9 October 2023
- Children's social care – the survey will distributed in future
- IT (in partnership with SOCITM) – the survey was first distributed on the 20 October 2023
- Legal – the survey was first distributed on the 12 October 2023.
We hope councils are able to help us with this work on improving workforce data over the coming year, and in particular to complete these surveys.