Casual staff are costing £285,000

PUBLISHED: 16:55 19 December 2006 | UPDATED: 14:55 12 May 2010

Richard Ascough

Richard Ascough

A SURVEY has revealed that temporary staff is costing North Herts District Council £285,028. The figure emerged after the GMB union used the Freedom of Information Act to undertake the study. The union study showed that 434 council spend a total of £1,546

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A SURVEY has revealed that temporary staff is costing North Herts District Council £285,028.

The figure emerged after the GMB union used the Freedom of Information Act to undertake the study.

The union study showed that 434 council spend a total of £1,546 million on temporary or agency staff in 2005-06.

Richard Ascough, the GMB regional secretary for the south-east, described the figures as representing "bad value for money for the public".

"In most cases the only winners are the employment agencies who take a considerable slice of this money for administration and profit.

"The temporary staff meanwhile get paid less than the permanent staff while the councils pay more to the agency than it would cost to employ the workers direct," he said.

In recent years the GMB has been working with council to reduce the amount being spent on non-permanent staff.

Mr Ascough said the union would be advising councils of the survey and urging them to "follow the example of councils that have massively reduced such spending".

In a statement a spokesman for North Herts District Council said: "The council engages temporary staff to provide services that are responsive and value for money.

"We save a considerable amount of money each year through controlling vacancies, with a current year savings target of £350,000.

"Temporary staff recruitment is extremely useful in certain situations such as covering staff absence from maternity to sickness in vital service areas or to make sure services continue smoothly during restructures and improvements."

The statement added: "The aim is always to give high quality services that are value for money."

Herts County Council had not responded to the Freedom of Information Act request when the GMB put together the survey.

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