Dear Editor, I would like to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by the Post comment: “Workers Get Less Than They Bargained For” (Wednesday, July 1).
I am more than happy to explain the actions that we have taken to mitigate the risks of redundancy facing our care staff as a result of the reprovision of the council’s care homes for older people.
We have already taken the steps proposed in the piece. Vacancies were frozen some time ago. To date we have already moved circa 300 employees to other positions within the establishment. We also apply a process whereby all posts have to be advertised internally first.
All affected staff have had one-to-one interviews and have gone through a process of being matched with any suitable internal vacancies, for which they have been given priority.
We have reduced our use of agency staff in order to fill vacancies from permanent staff, and we are continuing to do all we possibly can to reduce the number of staff who will face compulsory redundancy.
We have also gone further. As social care is a growing employment sector, we have held two care fairs inviting other employers to meet with our staff, and we have provided interview skills coaching.
We will continue to do our best to place skilled staff in other employment in the social care sector. We are also looking at ways in which we can track staff over the next year to see what happens to those who leave the council’s employment, either through choice or through compulsory redundancies, if this is required.
This amounts to a comprehensive package of measures. Your paper, like many others, has welcomed the council’s reprovision of poor quality care homes and its replacement with an ambitious programme of care centres, extra care housing and additional provision provided in the independent sector.
This is above all else what older people want. Our staff are skilled and talented and have done a fantastic job in managing a complex closure programme and raising standards at the same time.
We very much regret the changing nature of provision means that we will have to say goodbye to some of them, but hope that we can seek to retain their skills and experience both in Birmingham and within a growing social care sector, all be it not in traditional residential care homes run by a city council.
Strategic Director, Adults and Communities Directorate,
Birmingham City Council.