CIEH express deep concerns with findings from LGA workforce survey

02 February 2023, Ciaran Donaghy

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has expressed its concerns with the findings from a recent Local Government Association (LGA) workforce survey which highlights the ongoing workforce pressures being faced by environmental health teams across England.
The 2022 Local Government Workforce Survey, conducted by the LGA last year, provides information on key elements of the workforce within local authorities in England. With responses provided by 119 councils in England, the report provides a detailed insight into the workforce issues being faced by local authorities, and the impact this is having on service provision. 
For example, the report finds that 45 per cent of councils which run environmental health services were having difficulties recruiting environmental health officers and 43 per cent were having difficulties recruiting building control officers. This comes at a time when local authorities struggle to fulfil new duties being placed on them, such as implementing the new post-Grenfell building safety system, for example. 
The findings of this report, while deeply concerning, are of no surprise to the CIEH. Through regular discussions with our members, workforce issues local authorities are being faced with are consistently raised as a key concern. These workforce issues are being felt not only by local authorities in England, but so too in Wales and Northern Ireland as well.
CIEH are currently scoping the extent of this issue across the profession and are in the planning stages of producing our own comprehensive workforce survey covering both the public and private sector. CIEH will be seeking engagement from our members in the design and build of such a survey as plans progress. 
Ciaran Donaghy, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Executive at CIEH, said:
“This recent report by the LGA highlights what many of our members have been saying for a long time: environmental health teams up and down the country are being asked to do ever more work with increasingly fewer resources. 
CIEH recognises the severity of this issue and seeks to assure our members that we are making this issue a strategic priority. While there are no magic bullets, CIEH is taking many steps, some large, some small, to address this issue. 
Recent big successes include saving the Environmental Degree Apprenticeship at Wolverhampton University which was slated for closure. Concerted representations from local members and the CIEH have ensured that this apprenticeship remains a route into the profession for those in the region. 
We have also made representations at government level raising awareness of this issue with key political stakeholders.
As part of the President’s Commission, we are also reinvigorating our “career ambassadors” programme whereby members visit schools and colleges to encourage young people to consider a career in environmental health. CIEH also offer considerable support for students on the university courses and whilst doing their CIEH assessments to ensure they progress through their qualifications. 
Finally, we at CIEH are committed to ensuring we have a sustainable profession. Our own workforce survey, which will be the most comprehensive collection of workforce data from across the profession covering both the public and private sectors, will give us an even greater insight into the challenges the profession is facing. We hope to use this data to how best to target our efforts to remedy this situation. There is no quick fix, but we are dedicated to supporting the profession in addressing these issues.” 


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