Politicians in Flintshire have approved plans to pump an extra £500,000 a year into staffing to alleviate pressure on council services.

It follows concerns that the Covid-19 pandemic and government austerity measures have left some departments at Flintshire Council understaffed.

Senior councillors were today (Tuesday, 21 September) asked to back "urgent" proposals to boost its workforce to prevent services from failing.

The money will be used to employ additional enforcement officers after a rise in parking, littering and dog fouling offences, as well as staff to regenerate the area's town centres.

New workers will also be taken on to address increasing flooding issues and reduce a backlog of safety inspections.

The council's chief executive Colin Everett said the plans had been fast-tracked to allow recruitment to take place as soon as possible.

Addressing cabinet members, he said: “We keep organisational capacity under constant review but generally, we've been reducing capacity and not increasing it over a number of years of austerity.

“It's fair to say that the experience of managing the pandemic has revealed some areas of organisational capacity that need to be strengthened.

“Given the number of management changes going on, we've been reflecting more and more on the capacity that we need for the next period.

“These are all urgent and they've run ahead of next year's budget so that we can recruit quite promptly.

“There are a number of other posts under consideration which, although important, don't have the same urgency.”

A report to senior councillors shows just over £100,000 will be spent from council reserves in the current financial year to cover recruitment costs.

The impact on the local authority's budget would then increase to almost £488,000 by 2022/23.

Other areas which will receive extra staff include the council's legal and occupational health departments.

Labour council leader Ian Roberts said: “There are some key posts here which should help with capacity within the organisation.

“If cabinet passes this today, once it’s been through the necessary call-in period we are ready to go very quickly.

“Some of these posts, for example, the regeneration posts, are key to the ambition of the council for communities all over Flintshire.”

Cabinet members unanimously backed the proposals at the end of the discussion.