The high turnover of care workers in Hertfordshire has been highlighted to county councillors.

In total there are reported to be 31,000 people employed in the adult care sector across Hertfordshire – providing domiciliary care and working in care homes.

But over the course of a year 38.4 per cent – that’s almost 12,000 – of them will move jobs.

That can have a significant impact on service users who say having the same care worker is what matters most.

And on Tuesday (December 10) the county council’s director of adult care services Iain MacBeath outlined the steps being taken to recruit staff and to keep them.

He pointed to the funding of recruitment services, work in schools to highlight the care profession and successful bi-annual social media campaigns too.

And he said young people leaving college, people with experience of caring and retired people, looking for work that was part-time or flexible, were among those recruited.

Meanwhile with increasing numbers of older men needing care, it was said there were moves to increase the male workforce too.

In addition Mr MacBeath highlighted standards to discourage ‘poaching’ of staff and progressive pay inflation, to maintain the difference between average care wages and the national minimum wage.

And the Hertfordshire Care Standard – which guarantees payments for travel, time, uniforms, training and expenses – was also highlighted to councillors.

According to the latest figures – highlighted at the meeting – one in ten care worker posts in the county are unfilled, which is broadly in line with other areas.

And Mr MacBeath says the turnover rate remains “stubbornly high” – although he stresses that around half of those who leave do so to move to another   agency or care home.

The county council, he says, commissions 52 per cent of the care packages in Hertfordshire. However most of those are delivered by the private sector. And the  county council directly employs 2,000 care workers.

It was reported at the meeting that 31 per cent of care workers in the county are on ‘zero hours’ contracts.

Mr MacBeath said the council has taken step to reduce this, but many staff say they prefer the flexibility of the contracts.

So the county council now insists care providers must offer staff fixed hours – and if staff don’t want them, they can have zero hours contracts.

During the meeting councillors heard that London councils were now  placing older people in care homes in south Hertfordshire and other home countries.

And it was reported that Saint Albans was the most difficult area in the county to recruit to.

During the meting it was suggested that steps could be taken to make it easier and cheaper for care workers to park their cars while working.

The employment figures reported to the meeting are based on data from 2017/18, which is collated by Skills for Care and was published in June 2019.