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Staff in IRT asked us to write to management to express concern at a sudden increase in workload pressures and that caseloads topping 60 were unsafe for staff and clients. You can see it here Open Letter IRT

The response was positive, and a number of things are being considered or put into place.

Firstly it was explained that a large number of cases had got stuck in the MASH over recent months, and the resolution of that problem had resulted in a large number of cases arriving in IRT over a short period. The good news is that this influx should be levelling off to normal amounts by now, but of course this bulge will need to work right through the system.

To deal with this six experienced temporary staff have been drafted in for 6 months. However, some staff have already generated a large amount of toil dealing with the influx and this need will not disappear immediately, so we have also requested that staff be given the option to be paid for additional hours they work until circumstances improve and taking toil becomes a realistic option again.

Whether or not you get overtime payments it is still vital that nobody works unsafely, and we have reminded management of the need to monitor and where necessary limit working hours.

Can we again remind all staff to record the hours they work on Core HR

Obviously this bulge will move onto CSWT next, and the recruitment and retention bonus agreed for them has not yet had time to improve numbers here, so a managed team is being drafted in for six months to bridge the gap.

The other way that pressure can be reduced is more assistance from Business Support. By co-incidence we had already been talking to management there about asking some staff to do work at a higher level than they were contracted for, and to cover more meetings than they were expecting to be required for, so we were also able to discuss reviewing the resources here, where additional staff may be easier to recruit.

Reps will be following these things up at JCC next month so please feedback how things progress and if other things can be done.