Casework data for NSW’s Community Services Department has been published for the first time following controversy surrounding staff numbers.
The caseworker data was published online on Friday, revealing there was a 10 per cent caseworker vacancy rate in 2012/2013.
Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said her Director-General was working to improve the vacancy rate.
‘‘He is doing this by establishing a caseworker pool to enable the rapid filling of vacancies, and developing better procedures to manage vacancies created when caseworkers take parental or extended leave or act in non-casework positions,’’ she said in a statement.
‘‘The department is also working on incentives to attract and retain caseworkers in chronically hard to staff areas, such as western and northern NSW.’’
The opposition accused Mr Goward this month of spinning a ‘‘web of deceit’’ in relation to caseworkers numbers in Wollongong, following the death of an Illawarra child resulting in a murder charge against the child's mother.
Ms Goward told State Parliament not a single Wollongong worker had been cut. But a string of internal emails showed full time equivalent positions at Wollongong dropped from 43.9 in June 2011 to 32.7 in December last year.
The opposition accused Ms Goward of playing with the numbers.
According to the newly-released data, there were 273 Community Services caseworker vacancies across NSW in the April-June quarter.
The Western and Northern regions had the most vacancies with 59 and 51 respectively.
The Southern region had 149 full time equivalent positions but 35 caseworker vacancies.
There were 34 vacancies in the Hunter Central Coast area, 30 vacancies in Metro West and 11 in Metro Central.
On releasing the data, Ms Goward said in March she instructed the department to fill all budgeted caseworker positions.
'‘The government funds 2068 caseworker positions,’’ she said.‘‘We expect to see them on the ground.’’
There were 1862 actual full time caseworker across NSW in 2012/2013.