September 27th, 2016

£7m agency bill branded ‘insult’

Updated: 10:01 am, Jul 04, 2015

A LEADING councillor has described county council chiefs’ decision to spend almost £7million on temporary staff as an ‘insult’ to taxpayers.

Coun Peter McDonald slammed Worcestershire County Council’s spending following a meeting at County Hall last Thursday (June 28).

A report to the Audit and Governance Committee revealed the council currently spends £6.9million-a-year on temporary staff and admitted recent job losses had led to greater use of them.

Speaking after the meeting, Labour leader Coun McDonald said this was the ‘economics of a madhouse’.

“Why did they get rid of their own employees and pay out millions of pounds in redundancy if there was not a shortage of work?” he said.

“Nobody does that in the real world. You don’t let people go when there is work to be done and then go and pay millions on consultants to do the work your normal employees would have done.

“They are acting in a cavalier fashion with the public purse. It is an insult.”

A total of 73 per cent of the council’s expenditure on agency staff is spent on social workers across Children’s Services and Adult Services and Health.

A council spokeswoman said it had been a ‘challenge’ both locally and nationally to find qualified, skilled people who could do the job.

“The use of agency staff gives the council flexibility to cover situations, for example where we are still recruiting, to cover short term peaks in demand for services and provide sickness cover,” she said.

“The council is currently going through a period of change and the use of agency staff enables us to carry on delivering services to residents while shaping the organisation to become fit for the future.”