Issue - meetings

Further information requested in relation to the Consultants and Interims

Meeting: 28/11/2018 - Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 29)

29 Further Information Requested in Relation to the Consultants and Interims pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:


A report by the Interim Director of Change and Organisational Design responded to a request by the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 18 September 2018 whereby it was resolved a further report on consultants and interims be brought to a future meeting.


The request asked the Interim Director of Change and OD to outline the following:


1.  The possible benefits and dis-benefits of setting a ceiling for the amount consultants and interim staff are paid, reflecting the national paygrades for such work;

2.  The possibility of recruiting from outside of the Matrix agency system if the Council is unable to recruit the specialists it needs; and

3.  Adding a column into the list of interims/ consultants showing the day rates next to each post, prior to the Committee reaching any decision on the matter.


Members heard how the current agency contract is managed through Matrix SCM who operate a ‘managed service’ on the Council’s behalf, acting as a ‘broker’ with the wider recruitment market to ensure best value and the right candidates are put forward for temporary placements.  Members were advised that Matrix act in the same was as an Insurance Broker and The Council provides details of requirements, including rate and role brief for the work required and they automatically circulate those details to all agencies who are signed up to supply workers in the relevant category.


Members were informed that the net spend on interims and consultants is £46 million and the net saving to the Authority is £6.2 million. It was explained how when the Council has a short term, clearly defined piece of work to deliver which requires specialist skills, it is cost effective to bring in a company or an individual on a shorter term contract to complete the work. Members were informed that using temporary staff brings much less additional costs such as sickness, holidays pension and national insurance and the Authority are not required to continue paying them once their work is complete.


Members then heard how the Council had explored the use of fixed term contracts as an alternative but generally there is a limited scope at more senior and executive level from candidates from the interim market. Members were advised that the Council’s Senior Leadership Team had discussed the use of interims and consultants ( and wider agency use) in August and agreed some changes to the approach to manage use and costs as robustly as possible. This approach included the following measures:


·  Request for all temporary staff must be made via an online internal request approval system.

·  Implementation of a ‘cap’ on agency placements at 12 weeks – any further extensions would require a robust business case before approving.

·  It is proposed the approvers would be those currently on the vacancy ‘freeze’ panel(s) with the recommendation to include a representative from Commercial Management Service to support the panel/ approval process.

·  Posts approved for over 12 week placements (e.g. maternity cover, Interims Consultants working on specific projects)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29