Council's social work provision for children and adults

M Richards made this Freedom of Information request to Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council as part of a batch sent to 76 authorities

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council,

This request concerns the Council's social work provision for both children and adults for the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 budget years.

Should the following questions exceed your time and budgetary restrictions, we ask that as per Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act you kindly assist us in formulating our request before the statutory 20 days waiting time. We are available to discuss this over the phone on 07940074548 if more convenient.

First, please provide a basic definition for permanent social workers and a definition for agency workers (i.e. staff who are used temporarily to cover shortfalls in permanent staffing levels).

Then for each of the three years separately, please detail:

Wage:
a) the average annual salary for permanent social workers in the team, and the annual salary for the most junior level of permanent social worker you employ.
b) The hourly equivalent of these annual salaries, based only on working hours and not on allotted annual leave, bank holidays, development days etc. (i.e. annual salary divided by contracted work hours)
c) the average hourly wage for agency staff.
d) the agency fee, and how this works, i.e. is it a one off up-front cost or an hourly commission for each agency staff member? If it is the latter, please highlight whether this is included within the hourly agency staff wage or is an additional cost on top.

Hours:
a) the total number of annual contracted hours for permanent social workers. Please divide this into working hours, and non-working hours (i.e. annual leave entitlement, bank holidays, development days etc.).
b) the actual number of permanent staff hours worked in total across the whole team.
c) the actual number of agency staff hours worked in total.
d) The percentage of total agency hours that covered permanent staff vacancies, rather than maternity or sick leave.
e) the average timeframe that individual agency staff members worked within the service (i.e. how long do they normally stay?).

Benefits:
a) Any additional benefits offered/given to permanent staff members including pension contributions (and the total cost of these), and any additional benefits offered/given to agency staff members, including pension contributions (and the total cost of these).
b) Any costs that permanent staff members can claim back, but which agency staff members have to absorb themselves - for example travel/petrol costs. In such cases, please detail the total cost of these permanent staff claims.
c) Any incentives you offer as part of the recruitment of social workers, either to social workers themselves or recruitment consultants, for example relocation packages (and the cost of these).

Total Cost:
a) The total cost of permanent staff members and the total cost of agency staff members.

Then, looking at the current situation:
How many permanent full time equivalent staff members are currently employed?
how many full time equivalent agency staff are currently employed covering permanent positions (not maternity or sick leave)?
What are the names of the agencies used by the council to provide temporary social workers?
What was the number of applications you had for the last five permanent social worker roles that were advertised (and over what time-period this was)?

If there are questions for which you do not hold the information, please tell us why this is, where this information can be found, and who to contact.

Please provide all information in a machine readable format, i.e. an Excel spreadsheet or similar, and not in a scanned pdf format.

Thank you in advance,

Matt Richards and Anais Charles

Information Manager, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Sir

I acknowledge with thanks your request for information; this request has been considered as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

As such, your request may take up to 20 working days to be processed and has been passed on to an appropriate officer.

Please be advised that if an exemption applies to the information that you have requested, the statutory period may be exceeded in accordance with the provisions of that Act.

Should you have any queries, please contact: [Oldham Council request email]

Yours faithfully,

Information Management Team
Corporate & Commercial Services
Oldham Council
Level 11
Civic Centre
West Street
Oldham   OL1 1UT

E mail: [email address]

Please note: For satellite navigation purposes the postcode is OL1 1NL

Visiting the Civic Centre by Metrolink? The nearest stop is Oldham King Street (2 – 3 mins’ walk)

show quoted sections

Vicky Castle, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Richards and Ms Charles

 

Further to my conversation with Ms Charles earlier today I confirm we are
not in a position to provide the information requested under the Hours
section, parts a) and b).

 

In order to provide you with the information on the scale that you have
requested would require searches of each individual HR, payroll and
training records. Locating files and extracting information from the file
would take on average 5 minutes per file, to which there are at least 350
files. On this basis, 350 x 5 = 1750 minutes in total. Complying with your
request would therefore take in excess of 29 hours, which is over the
threshold as per the Freedom of Information Act.

 

I will however, provide you with as much available information as I can
under your request within the 20 days

 

Kind regards

 

Vicky Castle

Performance Analyst | People Services I Oldham Council

Email:[email address] I Tel. 0161 770 4171

Floor 4, Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1UT

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Vicky Castle, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Richards and Ms Charles

 

Please see below for the details Oldham Council are able to provide in
response to your recent Freedom of Information request:

 

This request concerns the Council's social work provision for both
children and adults for the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 budget years.

 

Should the following questions exceed your time and budgetary
restrictions, we ask that as per Section 16 of the Freedom of Information
Act you kindly assist us in formulating our request before the statutory
20 days waiting time. We are available to discuss this over the phone on
07940074548 if more convenient.

 

First, please provide a basic definition for permanent social workers and
a definition for agency workers (i.e. staff who are used temporarily to
cover shortfalls in permanent staffing levels).

 

Then for each of the three years separately, please detail:

 

Wage:

a)         the average annual salary for permanent social workers in the
team, and the annual salary for the most junior level of permanent social
worker you employ.

b)  The hourly equivalent of these annual salaries, based only on working
hours and not on allotted annual leave, bank holidays, development days
etc. (i.e. annual salary divided by contracted work hours)

c)         the average hourly wage for agency staff.

d)         the agency fee, and how this works, i.e. is it a one off
up-front cost or an hourly commission for each agency staff member? If it
is the latter, please highlight whether this is included within the hourly
agency staff wage or is an additional cost on top.

 

Hours:

a)         the total number of annual contracted hours for permanent
social workers. Please divide this into working hours, and non-working
hours (i.e. annual leave entitlement, bank holidays, development days
etc.).

b)  the actual number of permanent staff hours worked in total across the
whole team.

c)  the actual number of agency staff hours worked in total.

d)         The percentage of total agency hours that covered permanent
staff vacancies, rather than maternity or sick leave.

e)         the average timeframe that individual agency staff members
worked within the service (i.e. how long do they normally stay?).

 

Benefits:

a)         Any additional benefits offered/given to permanent staff
members including pension contributions (and the total cost of these), and
any additional benefits offered/given to agency staff members, including
pension contributions (and the total cost of these).

b)         Any costs that permanent staff members can claim back, but
which agency staff members have to absorb themselves - for example
travel/petrol costs. In such cases, please detail the total cost of these
permanent staff claims.

c)         Any incentives you offer as part of the recruitment of social
workers, either to social workers themselves or recruitment consultants,
for example relocation packages (and the cost of these).

 

Total Cost:

a)         The total cost of permanent staff members and the total cost of
agency staff members.

 

Then, looking at the current situation:

How many permanent full time equivalent staff members are currently
employed?

how many full time equivalent agency staff are currently employed covering
permanent positions (not maternity or sick leave)?

What are the names of the agencies used by the council to provide
temporary social workers?

What was the number of applications you had for the last five permanent
social worker roles that were advertised (and over what time-period this
was)?

 

Our response:

 

We do not have a definition of a social worker, however, the job purpose
is described as:-

To have a responsibility for a caseload, including undertaking
assessments, developing Care & Support Plans, and revising them as
appropriate once they are implemented.  To improve life opportunities for
Service Users, Carers and Families using social work methods and models. 
To continue to develop professionally, and be accountable for the delivery
of, and promote, social work good practice.

This applies to both permanent and agency staff.

 

In order to provide you with the information on the total number of annual
contracted hours and the total number of hours worked by permanent social
workers that you have requested would require searches of each individual
HR, payroll and training records. Locating files and extracting
information from the file would take on average 5 minutes per file, to
which there are at least 350 files. On this basis, 350 x 5 = 1750 minutes
in total. Complying with your request would therefore take in excess of 29
hours, which is over the threshold as per according to the Freedom of
Information Act (see definition below *).

 

However, if it would be of any help, annual leave entitlement would be
either 24, 28 or 31 days depending on length of service.  This would
equate to 175.92 hours, 205.24 hours or 227.23 hours annually.  Annual
working hours, for a full time employee, would be 1906.32 hours before
deductions are made for annual leave, bank holidays and development days

 

Benefits

a)      We are not able to provide costs for pension contributions but the
employer contribution rates to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund were:-

2015-16 18.2%

2016-17 18.8%

2017-18 20%

Permanent social workers also receive an essential car allowance of £500
paid monthly via their salary, total cost for 2017-18 was £35,879.

A childcare voucher scheme (salary sacrifice) is available.

There are no additional benefits for agency staff

 

b)      Permanent staff can claim for mileage, travel expenses, meals
(subject to meeting specific criteria), eye tests and overnight
accommodation.  We’re unable to provide costs for the first 2 years
specified due to system constraints, however, the total cost for 2017-18
was £60,220

Agency staff can also claim expenses as laid out above and the total cost
for 2017-18 was £80,851

 

c)       Retention payment for Children’s social workers of £2000 paid in
December 2015 a condition of this was to remain in the Council’s
employment until September 2016.  From October 2016 children’s social
workers also received accelerated pay within the grade to reflect the
market following benchmarking.

 

Total Cost

Agency Staff total costs:-

o 2015-16 Not able to provide overall total as we don’t hold records of
expenses claimed since changing provider in 2017. Costs excluding
expenses £643,008
o 2016-17 Not able to provide overall total as we don’t hold records of
expenses claimed since changing provider in 2017. Costs excluding
expenses £833,622
o 2017-18 £1,728,787

 

Permanent staff total costs:-

In order to provide you with the information on the scale that you have
requested would require searches of each individual payroll record.
Locating files and extracting information from the file would take on
average 5 minutes per file, to which there are at least 350 files. On this
basis, 350 x 5 = 1750 minutes in total. Complying with your request would
therefore take in excess of 29 hours, which is over the threshold as per
according to the Freedom of Information Act (*see definition below) .
Therefore, your request will not be processed further .

 

Current Situation:-

o Permanent Staff -  179 FTE (at 31/3/18)
o Agency Staff – 27.07 FTE (at 31/3/18)
o Reed is the supplier of our agency social workers
o 69 job applications for the last 5 permanent vacancies – advertised
April to June 2018

 

*Freedom of Information 2000 Section 12

Section 12 relieves a public authority from the obligation to comply with
a request for information under Section 1(1) of the Act where the
estimated time required to locate, review and extract the information
exceeds a certain threshold set out in Regulations.

 

The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and
Fees) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/3244) set out the rules in relation to the
cost limit (otherwise called the “appropriate limit”). These Regulations
are published by the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) and are
viewable on their web site from this link:  
[1]http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/uksi_20...

The Regulations set out the cost limit for Government departments and for
other public authorities. For local government, Regulation 3 states that
the cost limit is £450 and Regulation 4(4) states that the prescribed
hourly rate is £25.

Regulation 4(4) further provides that where the local authority estimates
the time taken to gather the information would exceed this limit (which
based on the prescribed hourly rate, equates to 18 officer hours), it may
refuse the request under section 12 of FoIA.

 

Should you disagree with the exemption used, you may ask for an internal
review by contacting:

 

Paul Entwistle

Director of Legal

Legal & Democratic Services

Oldham MBC

Civic Centre, West St, Oldham OL1 1UG

[2]Tel:  0161 770 4822

E-mail:  [3][email address]

 

Should you further disagree with the decision following the appeal you may
wish to contact the Office of the Information Commissioner :

 

Office of the Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire   SK9 5AF

[4]www.ico.org.uk

Tel: 0303 123 1113           Fax: 01625 524510

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

Vicky Castle

Performance Analyst | People Services I Oldham Council

Email:[email address] I Tel. 0161 770 4171

Floor 4, Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1UT

 

[5][IMG]

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/uksi_20...
2. file:///tmp/Tel:
3. mailto:[email address]
4. http://www.ico.org.uk/
5. http://www.oldham.gov.uk/e-mail_strap_line