A CAERPHILLY council chief has admitted that the authority has been forced to cut some social services areas “close to the bone”.

A council report revealed that more than £9 million has been cut from the council’s care services in the last five financial years.

Further cuts have hit staffing levels, with the workforce losing 134 posts – the equivalent of nearly 5,000 staff hours – during the same period.

Much of the savings were delivered through removing vacated roles from the authority’s management structure.

The corporate director of social services, Dave Street, told the health, social care and wellbeing scrutiny committee that the reduction accounted for around a tenth of the workforce.

“The majority of the posts have been management or clerical posts,” he said on Tuesday.

“You could assume people have lost their jobs, but we’ve basically done vacancy management.

“But those posts weren’t sitting around doing nothing. We have to make some very difficult decisions, and it will be increasingly difficult to do so moving forward.”

During this period the council allocated £8 million to social services in response to the knock-on effect of employment law issues such as the introduction of the National Living Wage.

But a report said the council’s use of ‘back office efficiencies’ and ‘service redesign’ had now been exhausted, with the council expected to deliver further savings of £34 million by 2023.

Plaid Cymru councillor Lyndon Binding, committee chair, said that the council was no longer able to potentially expand its care services.

“We’re now reaping any negativity that comes as a result of that. Is that constricting us going forward? Perhaps we’ve cut close to the bone,” he said.

Mr Street replied: “Are there areas where we’ve cut too close to the bone? Yes. Social workers are an example of that.

“Four years ago, we thought we could manage but pressures and societal changes have proved us wrong. We are moving into the territory of having to look at frontline services.”