From the Wirral Globe:
Wirral Council chief responds to union attack over spending millions on agency staff and consultants
A TRADE union is urging council chiefs in Wirral to reduce their sky-high spending on freelance staff.
According to UNISON the authority plans to lash out £7.7m on agency workers and consultants over the course of the current financial year.
Around £5m will be for freelance staff for children’s services - recently inspected by Ofsted and found to be "inadequate."
Documents seen by the Globe show the cost of consultants alone between April and November last year was £1.18m.
Total expenditure on agency workers in the same period was £4.5m - with more than 80% in social care and child services.
Paddy Cleary, Branch Secretary of Wirral UNISON, said the town hall does not seem to learn by its mistakes.
In 2015 chief officers were the target of fierce criticism from the union when it spent £2.5m on agency staff - with £16,000 per week going to consultants.
The fees for two of these came in at a staggering £1,700 per day.
Mr Cleary said: “The new figures are alarming and show the authority has failed to learn lessons from the past.
“We are hemorrhaging money that could provide vital services for the public of Wirral.
“UNISON continually highlighted the concerns and pressures in children’s services that have been echoed in the Ofsted report.
“The same pressures apply in social care and across the majority of our departments.
“Despite the draconian cuts to local government spending from a Government hell bent on destroying the public sector, this Labour administration should not be wasting taxpayers' money.”
He added: “Some of these agency people come in against budgeted posts but are paid higher salaries than our full-time staff.
“They offer no continuity or accountability - and if they can’t stand the heat they get out of the kitchen.
“It will not be the agency staff or consultants who pick up the pieces if something goes wrong - it will our members and the tax-paying public of Wirral."
See the full article on the Wirral Globe website
Published on: January 20, 2017