Agency and Consultant Staff at Cornwall Council

Browsing through my emails on a Saturday to make sure nothing important has come in is a regular function I carry out with a mug of coffee. Today, I was later than normal, but I am glad I did. As all Councillors have been sent an email post a FOI request from the Sunday Times. Their request was on the number of temporary/agency staff the council uses. This includes the total cost of these type of staff.

No matter which way you want to dress it up, Cornwall Council has and still continues to use these type of staff. The cost is not a few thousand of pounds either; It is many millions. An often used line of ‘you have to pay to get the right people’ is a little hard to swallow when some of the temporary staff are paid nearly three-times the amount an average Cornish worker gets paid a year. And this is only for a few months!

Take for instance, a person hired to be the Commercial Lead Strategic Partner in one of the biggest service sell-offs Cornwall Council has ever undertaken. From April 2012 – Mid July 2012 they were paid £67,349.35 if you add in the agency fees and other associated costs the true cost is £70,173.17 for 14 weeks work. That is nearly £5,000 per week a week. Granted, this is the top paid consultant, but many more are paid £40k plus for a similar time frame of employment.

In fact, Cornwall Council over the last 22 months a staggering £21,411,368 including all the associated costs. When I added it up, I certainly took a big gulp. The Leader has often said the Council is reducing consultants/temp/agency staff, but spending over £21m does not look like it.

Let’s just wait to hear the excuses that will come out in the next few days.

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