£500,000 bill for agency staff

By Ross Findon

Friday, March 13, 2009


MORE than half a million pounds is being paid to agencies by the Isle of Wight Council for interim senior staff, who will be immune from job cuts.

The council has said 200 employees could be axed as it tries to save cash. But it revealed this week two interim directors and two interim heads of service, whose contracts total more than £550,000, will continue in their posts.

The figures paid for the four were described as disturbingly high by Unison branch secretary Mark Chiverton.

Following the revelation the contract for director of children and young people Keith Woods would cost £186,000, the council confirmed the contract for director of resources Dave Burbage would cost £153,000, the head of compliance George Hook would cost £103,500 and head of procurement Peter Oakeshott would cost £109,700.

For the last three contracts, the council said it was cheaper to pay an agency than appoint a permanent employee. It admitted the figure paid to Mr Woods was £17,000 more than the cost of a permanent employee in that post.

In a statement issued alongside the figures, released following a County Press freedom of information request, the council said it planned to merge the head of compliance and head of procurement roles once the current contracts ended.

All four current contracts would be allowed to continue, although there is to be a future review of interim and agency jobs.

Mr Chiverton said Unison would investigate the figures.

“Unison remains concerned about the level of expenditure incurred as a result of agency staff and interim workers and these figures appear disturbingly high,” said Mr Chiverton.

Reporter: ross.findon@iwcp.co.uk

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