Spending on temporary staff by Folkestone & Hythe District Council (F&HDC) has risen by 80%, when compared to last year’s expenditure. In the financial year 18/19 F&HDC spent £247,358 in the first four months. In 2019/20 F&HDC have spent £446,080, according to their payment to suppliers data.
The rising reliance on temporary staff, if the trend continues, may well break the million pound mark by the year end – March 31st 2020. The last time this happened was in 2017/18, when temporary staff costs reached a record breaking £1,043,789.
The rising reliance on temporary staff again, comes at a time when FHDC are seeking to drive significant “efficiency” savings (£6.6 million of them) across all areas of services they provide. As the Council have said, they have an anticipated £6.5 million deficit by 2020/21, if they do nothing. Using more temporary staff will not assist in plugging that potential deficit.
There is a real risk to the Council that the Council will not be able to attract and retain officers who have professional skills which are essential to the delivery of the Council’s corporate plan.
To mitigate this F&HDC hope to identify by Oct 2019 training programmes for skills gap within the Council and for the People strategy to consider alternative recruitment options and support and develop a more ‘digital’ workforce.
To ensure the planned efficiencies are made, F&HDC have hired Orange Ora Limited for the period of April 2019 to Mar 2020, at a cost of £106,000. The remit is for a Project Manager to oversee the delivery of the new operating model, ensuring it dovetails to the service redesign and technology implementation through to completion.
In June the Council raised two purchase orders for the combined value of £20,162. One contractor was We are lean and agile and the other Neocol UK Ltd. Both have been brought into to help and assist with the Transformation programme by making the council a more “digital” workforce
In July the Council raised a purchase order for £67,1000. This was to use the services of Mason Frank International Ltd to help find suitable personnel to see the Transformation programme through.
One needs to remember they have already paid the consultants iGnite £66,000
“to carry out a 3 month piece of work (blueprint) to review current working practices / processes and technology across the whole council, and to recommend a new way forward in terms of the operating model for the council which will bring about substantial efficiencies and savings.”
The overall aim is to create a council that is efficient, fit to serve its community and meet the aspirations of residents in the context of reduced resources. To this end, the project has three main objectives: improving service delivery, improving resilience and improving efficiency.
We personally do not see this happening if F&HDC continue to rely on temporary staff at the rate they are. All we do see is they may create another record by potential bursting through the million pound barrier again.
It is wise and prudent to remember: Savings do not require that efficiencies be recorded net of up-front investment costs i.e. if you spend money to save money, you count the money saved but not the money spent in the process. By this logic, scrapping posts and hiring in consultants counts as a total saving, as does hiring temporary staff.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful