Swansea social services sick days miss target

STAFF in Swansea Council’s social services department took an average of more than 19 sick days each last year, it has emerged.

A council spokesman said the figure could be partly explained by the difficult nature of the work that the employees undertake.

The number of sick days in the department — an average of 19.5 — has pushed up the council’s average sick level, meaning it has the second worst level of any Welsh local authority.

The figures are revealed in the council’s annual performance plan, which is to be presented to councillors tomorrow at a full meeting of the council.

A council spokesman said: “The sickness figures can be attributed to a number of factors including the nature of the business and the impact of long term sickness.

“However, early indications show a marked improvement in social services sickness now compared to this time last year.”

The internal annual report describes the figures for the social services directorate as “substantially outside the target”, and as causing an “overall negative result” on performance.

The report said “proactive work” to tackle high levels of sickness among social services staff is to be undertaken.

The average number of days missed by council staff last year was 12.9, a slight increase on 12.8 for the previous year.

However, it is well above the council’s target level of 12 sick days per employee per year.

The average figure for days lost each year in Welsh councils is 10.9.

Monmouthshire County Council has the highest overall rate of sickness absences for employees, with an average of 13 days lost last year.