Council cuts jobs but hires agency staff

The job hunt begins Pic: Laurence Dodds

While Croydon Council is laying off hundreds of employees it is hiring agency workers at a higher cost than its employed staff.

An investigation carried out by the Croydon Guardian showed that the council spends over £200,000 a week on temporary staff. Despite this, it has previously announced that 310 jobs must be cut between 2011 and 2012.

Between April and November 2011, the council spent £8,794,803 on short-term management staff from agency Comensura.

A council spokesperson said: “We’ve been reducing the numbers of agency staff for the last couple of years as part of a planned process.

In the last year alone we have managed to reduce expenditure on agency workers by £5 million.”

Leaked documents seen by the Croydon Guardian indicate that one member of temporary staff was paid more than £3,000 for only four days work: Paul Davies worked just under two years for what was a temporary six month contract.

He received about £40,000 more than if he was employed as a regular member of staff. About the average annual pay of a teacher in Croydon.

A council spokesperson defended its spending as Davies played a “key role and is responsible for the oversight of the Council’s third party spend, which is over £340m.

“His appointment followed all of the regular protocols and his role was a very important one within the authority.

The extension of his contract was due largely to the difficulty in permanently appointing anyone with his level of expertise on the salary levels the council is able to offer.”

Croydon Labour Cllr Maggie Mansell told EastLondonLines: “This spending is shocking. Croydon Council are sacking perfectly good workers.”

The council are allegedly planning further staff cuts, with 149 employees set to loose their jobs.

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