In a time when the Council need to save money, they will once again spend more than a million pounds on temporary staff. They will spend this amount for the fourth time in six years under the current Chief Executive of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Dr Susan Priest (pictured)
In her time as Chief Executive Dr Susan Priest has seen the temporary staff costs break the £1m pound barrier on no less than three occasions. We suspect with the first and second quarter figures for 2023/24 now published, Temporary Staff costs will break the million pound barrier once again, meaning that for four out of the six years she’s been chief executive, Temporary staff costs will costs local ratepayers more than a million pound.
Given the evidence before you, could it be said the environment at our Council, Folkestone & Hythe District Council, is “toxic“? We ask this question as the evidence could suggest this be the case.
That aside, we know that HR Go Limited have been paid most for the first six months across all years. then Recruitment Solutions, then Penna PLC.
What the evidence also suggests is that the temporary staff costs given past full year costs for temporary staff, 2023/24 will be another record breaking year, under Dr Priest leadership
Staff shortages across Councils is not a new thing. Back in Feb 2022, it was documented by the Local Government Chronicle that councils are experiencing severe challenges in recruiting and retaining essential staff.
Agencies are well aware of this as are temporary workers and no using this route they can both make more money with less responsibility.
Section 3(1) of the Local Government Act 1999, imposes a requirement on all local authorities to deliver what is termed “best value” – it states:
A best value authority 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.
Given the million pound barrier for temporary staff costs will be broken for the fourth time in six years, are you as the local ratepayer receiving “best value“?
Lets hope in a time of financial belt tightening, the Council’s profligacy for spending on temporary staff can be brought under control. If the council cannot rid itself of its addiction to temporary staff, the £3m savings necessary from its base budget, to keep our council on an even keel, will laden us with financial burdens never seen before. Cllrs and officers alike will need to make tough decisions, lets hope one of them is curtailing the spend on temporary staff.
The Shepway Vox Team
The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness