Temporary Staff at Cornwall Council – Numbers
Sometimes, you don’t know there is a problem until it’s has been pointed out. As a Councillor, it would be impossible to be aware of everything that goes on at Cornwall Council. I like others do try, but it’s very difficult without permanently living in County Hall. Take the issue of interim staff; it was not until the details of these payments become public via the West Briton that any backbench Councillor knew the huge amounts that were being paid. I decided being remiss of not knowing in the first place to look into this matter further to see if what the West Briton had written about was just a small issue, or the tip of a Titanic sinking sized iceberg.
Firstly, I would like to say thank you to the HR staff who took the time to answer my many questions. I did ask quite a lot, and was very happy to receive all the answers. Cornwall Council has currently around 850 temporary workers (full and part-time) engaged in various roles across the County. Of these, 50 earn an hourly rate which would equate to a permanent salary of between £20,000 and £40,000. There are 60 workers that earn over £40,000. So that leaves 730 workers who are possibly on less than £20,000 per year. That of course is depending on the hours worked, and the rate they are paid.
I also asked for clarification as to who authorises the hiring of interim staff. I received the answer that it all depends on the length of the appointment. Typically any post that will be needed for over four weeks will need to be approved by the Directorate Leadership Team (DLT). Any post which are either statutory, or make up critical front line services (e.g. care assistants) are exempt from the DLT approval. The question is who really knew and collectively authorised the payments to those at the top end. I doubt it very much that one person authorised these huge payments
As to whether the interim iceberg would sink the good ship ‘Cornwall Council’ I doubt it. Sure, the huge payments paid to those at the top of the scale are hard to justify and have done damage to Cornwall Council, but overall most of the temporary staff is on below the national average wage. Maybe that area needs to be address and all our staff should be on (working full time hours) the national average wage?