Recruitment freeze in Bristol sparks fears for elderly in care homes

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has announced a recruitment freeze in an attempt to save money, but this has raised concerns a lack of back-office staff and managers could impact those in care homes.

The halt on hiring people has come after Bristol revealed that their social care, education and temporary housing for homeless people are set to be over budget by March 2023.

However, the West of England city Mayor has announced that front-line care home staff will be exempt from the freeze.

aerial view of buildings during daytime

Mr Rees has said: ‘By next March, the end of the financial year, the council is forecasting it will have spent £7.7m more than it budgeted for its general fund, as well as deficits of £1.4m on housing and £44.2m on schools.’

He adds however, that the overall budget for city spending – which is mainly used for big infrastructure projects rather than bills – is due to be underspent by £40.5m

Heather Mack, Green Councillor for Lockleaze in Bristol, confronted Mr Rees in a cabinet meeting on September 6 about having money leftover in the annual budget and requested to know why this wasn’t being distributed across social care.

In the meeting she said: ‘A hiring freeze will seriously impact our services and I’m especially concerned about adult social care.

‘Reducing these services now while we have significant sums in reserves could make both people suffer unnecessarily and cost us more in years to come.’

Mr Rees response to Mrs Mack’s concerns highlighted that being the city’s Mayor means he must keep some money saved in case of an emergency.

He said: ‘The point of resilience is to look at the drivers of future shocks. Now those could be explosive shocks in the moment, like a flood, or they could be slow simmering shocks that build up over time, like a growing nag in society that comes out as a growing mental health crisis in our population.’

Earlier this year, additional support for homeless people in Bristol was announced. The city is also now home to the UK’s first permanent drug-checking service.

Image: Martyna Bober




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