Problem Solving And Making Decisions

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  • Describing the problem and what may have caused it

One of our permanent Residential Childcare Officers is 6-months pregnant. She is planning to start her maternity leave on 30.06.2019. We have advertised for a temporary maternity cover position (April) but were not able to recruit. Moreover one other permanent member of staff has recently handed his resignation. He is obliged to serving one month notice period and consequently his last day of employment will be 31.05.2019. One of the reasons of his resignation is seeking an opportunity for personal development and promotion.

  • Scope of the problem

Due to the nature of service provided by Castle Gate and staffing levels, the problem we are facing can be considered as significant. Our company is about to lose two out of six permanent employees at very short period of time which can have an extremely negative impact on the business itself, our employees and the quality of service we provide.

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  • Who, how and what it affects in the workplace/team

Losing two out of six permanent RCCOs will certainly affect the whole team. If a cover or replacement can’t be found on time our employees might need to work short-staffed. This might be dangerous for them as well as our clients as it is crucial to maintain the agreed staff-client ratios. To prevent this from happening, our employees may be encouraged to do some additional hours and as a result they may feel tired and overworked. Moreover the morale within the team might drop, people might feel pressured and even more people might consider resigning.

Furthermore, the problem may also affect the business itself, especially our clients. Due to staff shortages we might not be able to provide the amount of respite agreed in individual care packages. We might be forced to make changes in bookings and cut down on the number of overnight stays. On the other hand, if we decide to work under-staffed, we might put our clients at risk or provide poor quality of service.

  • What you are trying to achieve by solving the problem

By solving the problem I would like to provide a safe working environment for my colleagues at Castle Gate and maintain required staff levels. I would also like to provide consistency of care for our clients in order to meet their needs and be able to provide allocated short breaks.

  • What the result would be if no action is taken

If no action is taken Castle Gate may not be able to provide the correct amount of short breaks for our clients, agreed in their care packages. On the contrary, if we try to maintain the amount of respite without required staff levels, our clients and staff might be put at risk. Moreover, if the problem is not solved promptly our Ofsted rating might be affected.

Investigation and Identification of Possible Solutions

  • Briefly describe possible solutions to the problem

The senior’s meeting was held on Monday 06.05.2019. The service manager, deputy manager and a senior RCCO met to discuss possible solutions to the problem. The team looked into short, medium and long term solutions and evaluated them.

Short Term Solutions

One of the short term solutions will be identifying the shits that need covering after 31.05.2019 and offering them to our bank workers and permanent RCCO’s (as overtime). The remaining shifts would be offered to agencies.

Medium Term Solution

A medium term solution would be advertising the full time post and a maternity cover temporary post (again). This would require advertising, shortlisting applications and interviewing. This process would take much longer but it would solve the problem permanently.

Considering difficulties to cover a temporary post which we faced recently (April), when it was first advertised, the next possible solution is to advertise a permanent post externally and offer the temporary contract (maternity cover) to our bank workers (internally). It has been identified that our bank workers might be more likely to accept the post as they are flexible and not looking for a permanent position.

Another possible solution is to temporarily cut down on our client’s care packages, until we successfully recruit.

Long Term Solution

It has been identified that the main reason to the resignation of our permanent RCCO was seeking opportunity for further personal development and promotion. The management team discussed what potential development opportunities could be offered to staff in the future.

Evaluation of Possible Solutions

Short term

  • After analyzing the rota and bookings we identify what shifts will need covering after 31.05.2019. We run a staff meeting to inform the team about the problem, present them with a list of available shifts and ask them to consider doing additional hours. At the same time we contact our bank staff asking them for their availability. We gather the information; allocate the shifts and make changes to the rota. We list the rest of the shifts that still need covering and contact the agencies.

Medium term

  • Deputy Manager writes an advertisement for a permanent and a temporary post. DM contacts HR department and requests the publication of the advertisement. DM also contacts casual RCCO’s and offers them the opportunity to apply for a temporary post.
  • DM reviews the rotas and bookings. DM identifies young people who might be affected, how many short breaks need to be canceled and when and plans on canceling the respite in a fair manner. DM contacts parents or carers of our clients informing them about the current situation and the need to cut down on their packages.

Long term

  • Senior RCCO contacts the training department to find out about development opportunities for staff at Castle Gate. Senior RCCO gathers information about training programs, courses and apprenticeships available and feedbacks the information to the management. The service manager invites a training consultant to a staff meeting to inform the team about possible options.
  • Senior RCCO creates a survey for staff to gather information about the work environment and suggested areas of improvement. The outcome of the survey is discussed at staff meeting, when the whole team can present their views on how to make our work environment better and how to keep staff satisfied and motivated.

Offering additional shifts to staff (overtime); use of bank workers and agencies


  • Maintaining the flow of the business; keeping the business open In long perspective, staff can be tired and overworked because of doing additional hours, which can have a negative impact on the quality of service they provide
  • By using the bank staff to cover a permanent post we won’t be able to use them to cover sicknesses and annual leave which is what they are mainly used for
  • Use of agency can have an impact on the quality of provided service (e.g. agency workers don’t know our clients)
  • Additional costs: use of agency and bank workers is expensive; overtime rate (1.3) for employees doing additional hours


  • Can solve the problem permanently The recruitment process takes long time (advertising, interviewing, notice period); a need to implement short term solution in the meantime
  • Adding a valuable member of staff to the team
  • Smaller costs than when using agency workers and bank staff or paying overtime rate
  • Maintaining staff levels
  • Cutting down on clients care packages


  • Keeping the business open regardless staff shortages Not being able to keep to the plans and arrangements
  • Disadvantage to clients who lose out on their respite


After investigating possible solutions we decided to advertise one permanent full time position and one temporary full time position (maternity cover). The maternity cover will also be offered to casual RCCO’s which may increase our chance of covering the post. It has been recognized that recruitment can be a long process; therefore we decided to implement the short term solution in the meantime. Deputy Manager will keep reviewing the rotas and bookings on two-weekly basis to be able to cover the shifts (overtime, bank workers and agency) until successful recruitment.

There are many ways to monitor and review the outcomes of the plans

  • Reviewing of the short term plan
  • DM to update the rota and bookings on two-weekly basis to ensure all shifts are covered
  • DM to contact the agency regularly to offer outstanding shifts
  • Senior RCCO to do inductions for new agency workers
  • DM to seek feedback from staff to make sure the performance of agency workers is satisfactory
  • Reviewing of the medium term plan
  • Induction for a new member of staff – welcoming a new member of staff in the team, introducing the colleagues, showing the building etc.
  • New starter to read and sign all relevant policies and Statement of Purpose
  • DM to arrange two-weekly supervisions with a new member of staff to monitor their performance and offer support and guidance
  • DM to assign a mentor for a new member of staff; a colleague who will help and support a new starter during the probation period
  • DM to hold regular catch up meetings with the mentor
  • Staff’s supervisions – DM to help staff to reflect on and evaluate their practice, offer support and guidance, discuss any potential problems and issues
  • Regular staff meetings – service manager, deputy manager and senior RCCO to hold two-weekly staff meetings


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