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Manage and adjust staffing patterns

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

As discussed in the previous section, there are many factors that will need to be taken into account when planning for staff numbers and patterns. For this criterion, you will be required to demonstrate that you are able to manage staffing patterns and adjust them to meet changing circumstances.

Regulation 18 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 states that “Sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced persons must be deployed to meet the requirements of this part.” Therefore, it is a manager’s legal duty to ensure that there are sufficient staffing levels at all times.

Your plans for managing resources should reflect the staffing needs of the clients and there should be sufficient staff available to meet this. This will mean drawing up rotas (or rolling rotas) to ensure shifts are covered and shared out equitably between staff members. However, you will also have to plan for unforeseeable and changing circumstances and have contingency plans in place for when cover is needed. Changing circumstances can refer to:

  • Short-term changes (e.g. a staff member going on holiday for a week)
  • Medium-term changes (e.g. a staff member being signed off work by their doctor for a month)
  • Long-term changes (e.g. a staff member going on maternity leave)
  • Emergency cover (e.g. a staff member phones in sick a couple of hours before their shift was due to start)

There should be a sufficient number of staff members that are trained in particular roles so that if one of them were to become unavailable, backup is available. You may have processes in place to utilise agency workers when staffing levels are particularly low.

Employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service have the right to make a request for a permanent contractual variation to enable them to work ‘flexibly’ (section 80F, Employment Rights Act 1996). Managers must consider such requests and treat them seriously and fairly but you do not have to agree to it. However, being flexible and accommodating requests where you are able to can increase the job satisfaction and performance of team members and help to retain staff.