HCL recently helped a Council located on an island off the coast of England. With over a fifth of its population aged 20 years and younger, the team within the island’s social services department has had to work hard on providing consistent care to vulnerable residents.
The Council provides health and social care services to the local population through children’s services, adult services and housing. Early in 2013 it received a disappointing Ofsted report, after which HCL was approached to supply three locum social workers to the assessment team and one to the fostering team to help tackle the Council’s case load.
After a number of months the Council was still struggling and the interim head of services, contacted HCL inviting the company to tender for the supply of six locum qualified social workers (QSW). These QSWs would be dedicated to clearing a backlog of cases, which had built up through years of understaffing. The backlog at the time stood at 600 cases, all needing critical initial assessment. With such a large backlog to be cleared, the Council had identified that they would need six locum QSWs with a minimum of three years post graduate experience, as well as experience of successfully closing cases.
These additional staff were a valuable addition to the team already in place and as the interim head stated ‘it was a crucial decision to garner additional support, enabling the Council to deliver a higher quality of service to the isles population’.
Originally 10 agencies submitted tenders to the Council and HCL was chosen due to the high quality of the candidates they could provide.
Handpicked by Greg Western, HCL’s Senior Consultant, each candidate was chosen due to their unique skills and competence in clearing backlogs. As Greg states ‘the team consisted of several candidates, all of whom significantly exceeded the Council’s minimum requirements with over five years postgraduate experience. They settled in quickly and produced outstanding results.’
The introduction of HCL’s team had an immediate impact on the Council. The heavy burden of work produced by the backlog was taken away from the Council’s permanent staff, allowing them to focus their efforts on their own caseload and enabling them to improve the quality of service they offered.
HCL remained in regular contact with both the team and the client, and, within just a couple of weeks the team had made excellent progress clearing a number of cases and the individuals had settled into their new surroundings. At the request of the Council, the project was extended by three weeks to ensure the team had sufficient time to clear all backlogged cases.
The project was completed in 3 months, with all 600 cases cleared. Its success has further cemented the relationship between HCL and the Council, while highlighting that HCL is an agency that can deliver not only quality locum workers for ad hoc needs, but also highly focussed professionals for long term projects.