Wirral adult social services will tonight seek to justify why it wants to spend more than £1.5m on hiring new officers.

The department experienced an exodus of expertise earlier this year when staff responded to the Tory/Lib Dem coalition administration's call for volunteers to take redundancy or early retirement.

The staff cull cost many thousands of pounds in severance payments.

Council cabinet tonight will receive a report from social services director Howard Cooper highlighting a major restructuring of the department.

It is proposed that 32 officer jobs will be created at a cost of £1.2m and and further six senior posts costing £373,000.

Freed resources from "deleted posts" have put £669,000 in the pot and unused severance funds are available of around £300,000.

Council leader Cllr Steve Foulkes seems unlikely to by overly sympathetic.

Two weeks ago, he warned the town hall's most senior officers will be held to account for their advice over massive cash cuts.

The department struggling hardest to meet the required reductions was adult social services, scheduled to lose £16m from its budget.

A report said "significant" financial pressures amounting to £6m are already being experienced - increased demand on the budget for older people and funding for learning disability services accounts for £3m.

And a £3m shortfall has been discovered due to potential "slippage" in savings that were predicted from reducing staff numbers through early retirement and redundancy.

Councillor Foulkes has said he fully intends to hold senior officers to account after they assured him while he was in opposition that budget cuts identified by the then coalition administration were realistic and manageable.

On September 7, he told the Globe: "Senior officers assured me when we were in opposition that these cuts were sustainable and achievable.

"They gave their assurance there would be no overspends.

"If that was not correct, if they were wrong in their analysis or felt under pressure for whatever reason not to be honest with me, then they should explain now why that was so.

"I intend to keep those officers to their word and hold them and the previous administration to account."

He added: "Having said that, we will make sure we provide as good a service as possible and look for budget efficiencies that can be managed in a timely manner."

Although council spending already has been cut by £51m and the workforce reduced by 1,100, Wirral still has to meet Government demands for enormous savings in next year's budget.