Laura Sharman 14 January 2015

Councils spend £5bn ‘re-hiring staff’

Councils are spending up to £5bn to rehire staff they have previously made redundant, a new investigation has revealed.

The Freedom of Information request, carried out by The Times, discovered many staff who had received large pay-offs were returning as interims or consultants, earning up to £1,000 a day.

The figures also show that five councils spent more than £100m on agency and consultancy workers since 2010-11.

Birmingham City Council topped the list compiled by The Times, spending £155m since 2010-11. topped the list. Essex County Council spent £133.5m, followed by Kent County Council who spent £127m.

Birmingham City Council hit back at the link between its spending on agency staff and the number of people re-hired following redundantcy. It said no staff who earnt more than £70,000 had been re-hired by the council in the past 12 months.

A council spokesperson said: ‘We use agency staff for short term periods where there is insufficient capacity or expertise within the council’s own workforce. This can be for a range of reasons including specialist one-off technical projects or to ensure that vital front-line services such as social care, can continue to be delivered to citizens, during spells of sickness.

‘Such staff can also be used when services are being remodelled and in an interim state – which has been increasingly the case since central government cuts began having an impact on the council.’

Find out why our sister magazine, The MJ, argue this story is not worthy of a front page....

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