Moray In Urgent Need Of More Social Workers

Additional staff are urgently needed if social workers in Moray are to fulfil the council’s legal obligations to the public. Councillors will be told this week that an extra four social workers are required for the community care department to cope with the workload.

A report to the council’s new education and social services committee on Wednesday says the current levels of staffing are having an impact on the quality of service the area teams are able to deliver. It warns: “This represents a risk to the delivery of safe, effective and efficient services.”

Existing staff levels meant that timescales for assessments were not being met. “There is a legal requirement on the council to assess the needs of any person for whom it may have a duty or power to provide community care services,” says the report.

“Furthermore, this duty requires needs assessment to be carried out within a reasonable timescale. The council needs to work towards reducing the wait for a needs assessment and to bring it back in line with the set eligibility criteria. This will reduce the risk of legal challenge given the council’s legal duty to carry out needs assessments within a reasonable timescale.”

The report alerts councillors to the fact that area teams are failing to meet the full requirements of care management because of the lack of resources. As a result no reviews of clients in residential care were being carried out, there were only limited reviews of clients with domiciliary care and care planning was inadequate.

It adds: “The consequences of this failure are that clients may not be in receipt of adequate services or that the potential to reduce costs on purchased care is not effected.”

The report says that because of staff shortages senior community-care officers had become involved in direct case work, which affected their ability to fulfil management responsibilities. “Their time is further compromised by supporting unqualified staff,” it added.