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Contractors in Cheshire East

Labour Helps Council Save Money

 

 

The BBC revealed that Cheshire East Council spent £3M on temps in 2009/10 and £2.6M on temps in the first 6 months of 2010/11. The figure for the full year of 2010/11 was discussed at a meeting with press and public excluded and so is confidential, but the figure for 2011/12 can now be revealed as £6.8M.

 

These outrageously high figures for agency workers show that the council cut too many full time posts without properly thinking through the implications. Having paid high redundancy payments to reduce staff numbers they have had to take on agency workers to do the work.

 

Labour councillors have demonstrated that the council made redundant too many social workers and is now having to hire social workers through agencies and pay higher rates. What is worse is that council rules forbid re-hiring staff previously made redundant, so some of the agency social workers now being taken on through temporary contracts are having to travel from further away to work for Cheshire East Council.

 

Following Labour complaints, the Council is moving to reduce its spend on agency workers and the total spend in the first 4 months of this year is £1.2M (equivalent to an annual spend of £3.6M). In the period 1 April – 31 July a total of 336 agency workers were employed including 48 qualified social and healthcare workers, 205 manual labourers and 30 admin and clerical staff. This is a significant reduction from the previous year but Labour councillors are determined to push for further reductions.

 

Other suggestions for savings include forming a bank of administrative staff and manual labourers to cover temporary assignments throughout the council. As some of these staff would otherwise be made redundant, this doesn’t just save on the agency fees but it also saves the council redundancy payments and keeps a worker in a job.

 

Labour Group Leader Cllr David Newton said,

“These savings in agency workers show that there are efficiency savings to be made and that the Conservative cuts to front line services, notably to social workers looking after the most vulnerable in our society, are premature and excessive.”

 

Councillor Sam Corcoran said, “The Labour group on Cheshire East Council is showing itself to be an effective opposition group. It is not only highlighting problems but, where allowed to do so by the Conservative Cabinet, is helping to provide solutions. This is just one example of good work done in the cross party scrutiny committees on Cheshire East Council.”

 

Adult & Social Care Spokeswoman Laura Jeuda, Councillor for Macclesfield South said,

“It is disgraceful that Cheshire East Council is wasting so much of its social care budget on hiring agency workers. What makes it so sickening is that the previous year the council was paying large redundancy payments to get rid of its own social workers. Now it is paying high agency rates to get temporary workers to do the work they were doing.”

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