MORE than £800,000 was spent on agency social workers by Cheshire West and Chester Council last year, data shows.

A Freedom of Information request to the council shows that officials sanctioned an £813,266 spend on agency social workers, with 11 such staff being employed by the authority at the start of this month.

Eight of these team members covered children’s social care, with three working in adult services.

Comparatively, 14 agency staff were employed by CWAC at the start of September 2019.

A Cheshire West and Chester Council spokesperson said: “We have an ongoing and successful recruitment drive for social workers in Cheshire West and Chester. We also invest in the career development of our workforce to ensure we can continue to offer high quality services to support and protect some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents.

“Nationally, there is a gap between supply and demand of social care professionals. Like many other Councils there are occasions on which we employ agency social workers to fill short- term vacancies or specific time-limited posts.”