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Talks on how to solve public sector recruitment crisis in Moray to be held

Moray Council's annexe in Elgin.
Moray Council's annexe in Elgin.

Summit talks will be held to find solutions to a public sector recruitment crisis in Moray.

Both the council and NHS Grampian are struggling to attract applicants for posts in the region.

Now calls have been made to offer extra incentives to entice staff to deliver vital services for residents.

Schools in the region have had dozens of vacancies through the academic year while fears were raised Elgin’s maternity unit would have to be temporarily downgraded if two junior doctors were not recruited before the end of this month.

Moray Council, health representatives and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will attend talks next month to explore opportunities to boost the amount of candidates for vacant posts.

And Moray MSP Richard Lochhead is eager to ensure the region is promoted as a “first class” place to work.

He said: “One of the other challenges we’ve faced in Moray in recent years, has been in recruiting key workers to the area.  Most recently we’ve had the well-publicised problems recruiting teachers and currently there are the issues around medical staff, including junior doctors, at Dr Gray’s.

“NHS Grampian and the Moray Council have both agreed to attend a round table discussion to look at incentives to attract public sector workers to Moray and I have asked that HIE come on board with these efforts.”

Moray Council currently offers relocation packages for various staff and has trialled rent-free accommodation recently in an attempt to attract potential teachers.

NHS Grampian does not offer any incentives currently. Yesterday a spokeswoman for the health authority explained any offer would have also have to include Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and conform with national policies.

Moray Council’s business support team manager, Lindsey Stanley, said: “We offer a relocation allowance of £5,400 for promoted or hard-to-fill posts.

“While these are successful, we’re always looking at ways in which we can improve our incentives as we’re often competing with neighbouring authorities who can offer higher allowances.”

A spokeswoman for HIE said: “We will be attending the meeting which will explore recruitment challenges faced by a range of public sector organisations including education and health services.

“We are working with the Moray Economic Partnership to promote Moray as a place to live, work, study and invest.”