She has a PhD from St Catherine’s College Cambridge. The PhD she received was for a study of the effectiveness of government policy to stimulate small and medium enterprise (SME) growth and competitiveness.
Dr Susan Julia Priest (pictured) is the Head of Paid Service & Chief Executive of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, who received that PhD from St Catherine’s College. She is very capable of stimulating the local economy, as under her leadership temporary staff costs have once again risen and will now doubt pass the million pound mark under her tenure for the third time in a row, since she became chief executive.
As one can see from the chart below, temporary staff costs fell during the pandemic year of 2020/21, and since then have continued to rise.
Temporary staff are only a stop-gap solution and an expensive one at that, as is evidence above.
The most common reasons for low retention rates in both temporary and permanent roles is poor working conditions, including long hours, low pay, and poor benefits.
Other reasons can include a lack of job satisfaction or opportunities for advancement. No matter the reason, high turnover rates are costly for the council and are no doubt leading to a decline in morale among remaining employees, especially when the levels of hypocrisy are so self evident.
Let’s not forget, temporary staff costs have broken the million pound barrier twice, in the four year tenure Dr Priest has been in charge. We suspect, for this financial year 2022/23, they will break the million pound barrier once again.
Of course, interest rates have risen dramatically since April 2022, but this alone cannot explain the heavy reliance the rise in costs and numbers of temporary staff personnel.
It is clear temporary staff costs do not achieve best value for the council or the local taxpayer. Under best value the council must “make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness“, as per Section 3 of the Local Government Act 1999 (as amended by s137 of the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act 2007).
The amount spent on advertising for permanent staff between 1 April 2019 – 31 Aug 2022 is £270,913
As always, we’ll leave you to make your mind up if spending on temporary staff costs; which is set to pass the million pound barrier for 2022/23, delivers best value to our council and the ratepayers of the district.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime