COVID-19 Workforce survey research report, 14 July 2020

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

Research

An online survey is emailed to heads of human resources, or a nominated contact, in councils from England, Wales and Northern Ireland on alternate Wednesdays. The data requested relates 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 1 July. The overall response rate was 65 per cent and covered over a third of the total workforce.

Key findings

  • Some 32 per cent of councils reported recruiting additional staff (of any type including casual, agency, contingent, etc) in the week ending 26 June 2020. In total 1622 additional staff had been recruited: the median number of staff per authority was four and the mean was 25
  • More than a third of councils (108) recorded deaths in service since lockdown. A total of 205 deaths were reported since the start of lockdown (cause not specified).
  • Thirty-three per cent of councils reported that they had furloughed at least one member of staff. In total there were 13,180 staff furloughed in the week ending 26 June 2020, which was two per cent of the current workforce. Of those councils that had furloughed staff, the median number furloughed was 101 and the mean was 169 but this varied considerably across different types of authority. The main reason given was that the service had stopped (57 per cent) or that funding had stopped (36 per cent).
  • Some 82 per cent of councils had redeployed staff. In total there were 15,966 staff redeployed in the week ending 26 June 2020, which was three per cent of the current workforce. The median number of staff redeployed was 31 and the mean was 76.
  • More than nine out of ten councils (92 per cent) reported that they had at least one member of staff unavailable for work. In total there were 33,077 staff unavailable for work in the week ending 26 June 2020, six per cent of the current workforce. The median number of staff unavailable for work was 34 and the mean was 147.
  • 30 per cent of staff were unavailable through ‘self-isolation (other)’ and 34 per cent were unavailable due to ‘Non-COVID sickness’.
  • When asked whether individual services had enough staff to run them normally or not, the service most badly affected during the week ending 26 June was schools: over a quarter of single tier and county councils reported they were operating with severe disruption due to staffing numbers. Also badly affected were adults and children’s services, with 26 per cent and 18 per cent of councils respectively reporting moderate disruption.
  • When asked to assess the council overall, in terms of whether there are enough staff to run services normally or not, 47 per cent of councils report minor disruption.
  • Finally, councils were asked about the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing for staff. Eighty-eight per cent reported they had about the right amount of PPE they needed; while three per cent had less than they needed. Eighty-five per cent said all the staff who need testing can access it; only one per cent said it was available to some of their staff who need it.
workforce survey research report cover 14 July 2020
Published by:
LGA
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