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Borough’s temporary workers bill doubles in the space of five years

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 October 2018

Bromley council offices

Bromley council offices

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Temporary workers are costing Bromley Council more than double what they were five years ago, a new report has shown.

Agency staff are costing Bromley taxpayers £13.9m as councils across the capital struggle to recruit and retain permanent workers.

It comes ahead of a meeting on Thursday, October 11, where the council’s spend will be scrutinised.

According to a report, the total cost of agency workers has more than doubled since 2013’s £5.5m. In the last year, £13.9m has been spent on temporary workers, £2.6m more than in 2016/17 and £5.5m more than 2015/16.

The education and children’s department makes up £7.8m of the costs, followed by care services at £4.1m and environmental services at £872k.

The report explains: “An agency appointment should be for a maximum of a six-month period except in relation to education, care and health social care services where the national recruitment shortage means that the use of temporary agency staff is much more prevalent and there is a necessity to ensure statutory obligations are met.”

Temporary senior managers have also cost the council as it improves its children’s services following a disappointing 2016 Ofsted rating.

“These individuals have strong proven track records of delivering excellent services and appointments made are often on the strong recommendations of Inspectors”, officers said.

Bromley’s spend is lower than other London boroughs, some of which spend upwards of £30m.

A council spokesman said: “Bromley Council’s spend on agency staff at £13.9 million for 2017/18 is well below the London average of £19 million based on 28 of 32 boroughs that replied to a London Councils’ survey.

“Local authorities in London have for some time experienced difficulty recruiting people with the requisite skills for a number of council positions, and in particular finding experienced social workers.

“Bromley works hard to minimise the use of agency staff as far as possible using measures to attract and retain its own good quality people.”

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