A Birmingham Social Services jobs freeze is likely to remain in place for the forseeable future.
Sue Anderson, cabinet member for social care and health, admitted a block on filling all but business-critical vacancies was beginning to have a painful impact on staff.
But Coun Anderson (Lib Dem Sheldon) insisted she would do everything possible to claw back a projected £7.6 million overspend on the social services budget, which includes a £2.9 million overspend on children's services.
By refusing to fill nonurgent vacancies she hopes to save £6 million.
Other cost-cutting measures include trimming £500,000 from the Youth Offending Service.
Coun Anderson told a cabinet meeting that social care managers would have to produce a sound business case for recruiting new personnel, particularly freelance agency staff.
She added: "We have frozen recruitment and this is subject to a case by case review.
"If the case is made and it is strong enough then that particular job will not be frozen.
"Everyone throughout the organisation has had to take some pain and there will be more pain in the future.
"I must control my budget and I am saying to managers that if they want to keep their staff then they must find other ways of saving money."
The block on recruitment was attacked by Sir Albert Bore, leader of the Labour opposition group, who said non-replacement of staff was beginning to affect front-line services.
He gave an example of the council's Children's Rights Service, which has been forced to sack an agency receptionist. Coun Bore said the decision meant there was no one available at the reception of the CRS to take clients to social workers on the first floor.
"We are dealing here with vulnerable young people who often arrive unannounced.
"There is often only one member of staff on the first floor and if he or she is on the telephone and cannot come downstairs, then what is supposed to happen?"