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Cheshire East Council has 220 job vacancies – that’s nearly 7.5% of its posts unfilled, writes Belinda Ryan.

The council declined to comment on what impact the vacancies are having on services.

But over the past few weeks three planning meetings have been cancelled at a time when the backlog of applications is at an all-time high.

The council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service its workforce is “at the heart of all we do” and it is working hard to retain and recruit staff across all departments.

A spokesperson said: “We currently have a headcount of around 2,914.51 FTE (full time equivalent) staff, with a vacancy rate of approximately 220 FTE – or 7.49%.

“These roles provide a range of council services, each with their own opportunities and challenges.

“We are currently advertising for 42 of these vacancies worth 36.24 FTE on the jobs pages on our website.”

Cheshire East is not alone in struggling to recruit workers.

Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire had 1,000 vacancies at the beginning of August.

The Cheshire East Council spokesperson added: “Like other local councils, we have a number of vacancies which are much harder to fill on a permanent basis.

“This is also impacted by a number of factors, such as longer-term impacts of Covid-19 and national shortages for certain skills and areas of expertise such as experienced planning officers, ICT officers, lawyers, education officers, social workers and carers.

“With an increasingly competitive jobs market, we are proactively working to recruit and target those who we feel may have the right skills to join our workforce.

“We have a clear vision for workplace culture and a strategy for our workforce. We have a set of core values, behaviours and employee deal that brings this all to life for our employees.

“The council is also working with partners, where appropriate, to attract staff in the harder to fill vacancies.

“We are also really keen to attract young people and apprentices.

“We would ask anyone who is keen to join Cheshire East Council to look at our jobs pages on our website, check out our social media and apply online.”

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