Sheffield Council temporary staff spending soars by 174%

Council spending on temporary staff has soared
Council spending on temporary staff has soared
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Yorkshire councils, including Sheffield, have been criticised after new figures revealed an alarming rise in the amount spent on temporary staff.

Figures released under Freedom of Information show that 13 councils in the region paid out more than £54 million on short-term agency staff last year.

Sheffield Council increased costs by 174 per cent from £3.87million in 2011/12 to £6.72million last year.

Local authorities in Kirklees, Hambleton and Harrogate have also seen increased dependence on temporary staff over the five years since 2011, according to figures obtained by sister title, The Yorkshire Post.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance said the figures 'show poor value for taxpayers’ money'.

The campaign group’s chief executive, John O’Connell, said: “Relying on expensive temps suggests the council isn’t managing its staffing levels appropriately.”

But public service union Unison said the findings were a direct result of Government cuts crippling local authorities.

The rise in agency spend in some parts of Yorkshire is being blamed on Government spending cuts that have left council leaders with little choice, but it has prompted criticism that they are failing to appropriately manage staffing levels.

Temporary workers are used by local authorities to cover long periods of vacancy, such as sickness and maternity leave, across all departments.

But some councils across Yorkshire have gone consistently over their budgets as agency staff are brought in as a necessity to cover 'unforeseen circumstances'.

Harrogate Borough Council more than doubled their spending on temporary staff from £577,410 four years ago to £1.17 million last year.

Hambleton went vastly over their initial budget of £1,780 and spent £246,150 on a total of 27 agency staff. The council said that £43,000 of this total went on a project that had already been budgeted for but declined to provide any further details on the scheme.

Kirklees council went over budget by £6.5 million spending £8.17 million last year - up £1.74 million from 2011.