Agenda item

Agency and Interim report

(Copy herewith)



The Interim Strategic Finance Business Partner elaborated on a report which presented the Committee with a position statement on the number of staff vacancies and interim/agency staff engaged covering vacant posts. It was explained that the Committee had been receiving regular update reports and following the meeting of the Committee in June 2017, 3 queries had been raised by Members which were included in the agenda. It was explained that although there had been a decrease of 23 posts across 3 directorates the true picture varied from the report as the Borough Secretary department had transitioned a number of positions from LGSS including Legal and HR services. It was noted that the total costs incurred to date since April 2017 for all interim/agency staff was £476k and it was highlighted that that figure represented the gross costs which would be off -set by savings in permanent staff budgets.


The Committee recognised the need to use interim/agency staff in the short term but had some concerns as to whether it provided value for money or if there were any other options that could be considered which included examining how to retain and develop existing staff. Questions were raised as to whether potential employees were attracted to positions open at the Council or if broader issues were affecting the employment figures and if this was specific to the Council or the whole public sector.


It was noted that Heads of Service and Directors had been invited to the Committee to elaborate on the report and answer any specific questions raised about their Directorates.


It was reported that some directorates had found difficulties in recruiting permanent staff and to fill vacant roles, hence the use of interim and agency staff within their area. It was noted that often Interims would be employed due to their expert and specialist knowledge. It was suggested that there was a reluctance to commute and that other authorities were more easily accessible such as London and Birmingham where wages would be higher and that the current terms and conditions offered by the Borough Council were not as favourable as other authorities. Reference was made to similar problems that were being experienced in the private sector and advised that a combination of both apprenticeships and graduate recruitment could go some way to resolve the staffing positions in the future.


A suggestion was made that further examination should be conducted with regards to the length of time and the costs of the appointment of an interim and whether it was in specialist roles.


It was suggested by a Committee Member that there was a need for them exit interviews to be seen by the Committee so that they could get an understanding of how to improve and retain staff and to look at ways of improving the workplace. The Committee acknowledged that there was no quick-fix solution to the problem as any changes would take time to imbed.




That it be agreed that future reports are widened to include details of all interim/agency staff including those not covering vacant posts.







Supporting documents: