Report reveals impact Covid is having on social work teams and other Leeds City Council services

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to “significant pressures” for Leeds City Council’s social work teams, as well as delays for planning applications and even the processing of birth certificates.

By Richard Beecham
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 11:45 am

A report set to go before decision makers next week also claims a “high turnover” of social workers, as well as issues around vaccinating home care staff have led to “significant pressures” on services the authority legally has to deliver.

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It added that problems on other council departments, including staff shortages, delays in environmental health inspections and increases in antisocial behaviour complaints have all put further strains on services.

Leeds city centre Photo: AdobeStock

The council’s children and families department has seen issues of “placement stability” for looked after children, as well as a higher than normal turnover of social workers.

The report stated: “The challenge in the adult and children social care sectors, as well as with our voluntary partners, is largely around recruitment and retention of staff and volunteers.

“Concerns remain over the impact of vaccination requirements in the home care sector, and we are stepping up work to improve vaccination uptake before April 2022, when vaccinations will be made mandatory for staff working in these settings.”

The document went on to give a long list of other council departments and areas of work that were under pressure at least in part due to the effects of the pandemic.

Housing has had shortages of construction materials and tradespeople, which led to delays in outstanding council house repairs, while Parks and Countryside has had problems recruiting casual staff for catering and retail.

The paper added: “Registrars have backlogs to address and wait times remain for certificates because of Covid and c (sic) for birth registrations and claiming child benefit.

“Environmental Health continue to address backlogs of premises requiring inspection due to these being suspended for 12 months.”

It also claimed that Planning has delays in validation and investigation of new applications due to an “unprecedented upturn” in workload. Meanwhile Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team have seen an increase in complaints, “particularly in university housing areas which impacts on other teams”.

It added: “It was always envisioned that winter pressures would be significant in 2021 and early in 2022, particularly for health and social care.

“We will continue to respond to Covid-19 using a variety of measures, including vaccine uptake; mitigating high infection rates and wider seasonal illnesses; addressing service pressure and backlogs; and promoting key communications messages as we continue to live with the virus safely.”

The paper will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday, December 17.

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