COVID-19 Workforce Survey, week ending 9 July 2021

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


This report is part of a series of monthly surveys of all councils in England and Wales collecting key workforce data on how the sector is responding to COVID-19. An online survey was emailed to heads of human resources, or a nominated contact, in councils from England and Wales on the second Wednesday of the month. The data requested related 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 9 June 2021 and covers the week ending 9 July 2021. The overall response rate was 52 per cent and covered around a third of the total workforce. 

Key findings

  • Of those councils with at least one member of staff unavailable, a little over two-fifths (42 per cent) reported that they had at least one member of staff off sick with ‘long COVID’.
  • Councils were asked, to the best of their knowledge, how many staff had refused the COVID-19 vaccine. The majority of councils did not know this information. Fourteen per cent said fewer than one in 20 staff working in high risk areas had refused. Six per cent said one in 20 of public facing staff had refused; and nine per cent said one in 20 of all staff had refused.
  • Councils were also asked what they were currently considering about staff working practices. Eighty-seven per cent said they were considering ‘increasing hybrid working’.
  • Twenty-two per cent of councils reported that they had furloughed at least one member of staff. In total, responding authorities reported there were 2,175 staff furloughed in the week ending 9 July 2021. This is 0.5 per cent of their current workforce – the same proportion reported last.
  • Councils were asked if they were experiencing significant difficulties recruiting for some posts or not: 115 (63 per cent) said they were.  Councils were subsequently asked to choose from a list of specialist occupations where they were experiencing difficulties: 90 per cent of councils with children’s social care responsibilities and had reported recruitment difficulties had difficulties recruiting children’s social workers.
publication cover - COVID-19 Workforce Survey research report, week ending 4 June 2021
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