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Posted by: John Brace | 14th November 2017

Why did Wirral Council spend £8,497,964.68 on agency staff last year?

Why did Wirral Council spend £8,497,964.68 on agency staff last year?

                                                   

Matrix SCM invoice Wirral Council IN15346 £174,926.02

Matrix SCM invoice Wirral Council IN15346 £174,926.02

Above is one of the many weekly invoices Wirral Council received from Matrix SCM Limited for agency staff last year. Wirral Council spent £8,497,964.68 on agency staff with Matrix SCM Ltd last year.

Each invoice has an accompanying spreadsheet that shows how the total amounts on the invoice are calculated. The spreadsheets have a column titled units, which either represent hours or days for agency staff supplied.

  
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Some agency staff are charged to Wirral Council at a very high hourly rate. For example the timesheet for invoice IN17589 shows that Wirral Council paid Matrix SCM Limited for 5 weeks work by a member of staff supplied by the agency at a daily rate of £817.91 + VAT a day (total including VAT over those five weeks £24,537.30).

This spreadsheet (which is a large file and may take some time to download) provides details of the breakdown of expenditure on agency staff by Wirral Council with Matrix SCM Limited for the 2016-17 financial year.

A story published on this blog two years ago about the same topic detailed just over £6 million of expenditure by Wirral Council on agency staff over 10 months in 2014-15.

This means Wirral Council last year spent even more on agency staff in 2016-17 than it did in 2014-15!

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Responses

  1. Presumably, these figures represent payment in lieu of permanent staff.

    If staff were paid more and authorities appropriately delegated so that staff were paid commensurate with their responsibilities, there would be more staff in permanent employment with less charged to agencies.

    • I don’t think the agency staff are just doing the job of the permanent staff.

      I remember somebody saying at one of Wirral Council’s public meetings that there is no budget for agency staff. If it were the situation as you describe (agency staff doing the job of permanent staff when they are not there) some of the cost of paying agency staff could come out of the existing staffing budgets.

  2. £817.91 a day at min wage would employ around fourteen workers, but what are these jobs they are doing?

    • Unfortunately Wirral Council regard the job descriptions as protected on the grounds of commercial confidentiality and do not regard there as being an overriding public interest in favour of disclosure.


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