Have Covid lockdowns helped create a skills shortage in Social Care Performance Teams?

​​​​​​​From the stories we are hearing from our clients all around the country, it seems that the Covid lockdowns and requirements to work from home have contributed greatly to an ongoing crisis in the sector.

Many staff have enjoyed the obvious benefits of working from home, from financial savings to shorter working days, absent the commute, making them less enthusiastic about a return to the council offices. And many more, it seems, have sought to keep the new control over their lives that the lockdowns presented to them, by leaving the payroll and setting up as a self-employed contractor.

Others have taken the opportunity presented by not having their PC screens overlooked by colleagues to look at the market for their skills and move industry. In the private sector, larger companies are increasingly feeling the need to make use of data analytics, and are willing to pay handsomely for it, so council analysts are finding themselves much in demand elsewhere.

Together these represent a significant drain from the pool of talent available to Local Authorities. As people with both broad data skills and knowledge of Social Care systems and processes are spread more thinly across an expanding labour market, Local Authorities seem to be losing out. Several clients have now asked us to mentor their new staff whose skills and experience simply don’t match the requirements of a demanding and increasingly complex role.

At this point, there is no clear solution in sight, no end to the ‘brain drain’.

But there are grounds for optimism too. With less-than-ideal resourcing, Authorities are being obliged to ‘work smarter’. At KEY Intelligence, we are being asked increasingly to streamline and automate data processes to eliminate unnecessary handling, and to build new output-specific datamarts that really do provide decision-ready information at the push of a button, that can be issued without the need for final reconciliations and adjustments. By reducing the need to extract and manipulate the same data repeatedly from their CRMs, and by eradicating the logical contradictions that can result, Authorities are increasingly able to operate with fewer staff and a narrower range of data skills.

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