Slough Borough Council urged to have less reliance on agency workers

Slough Borough Council has been urged to have less reliance on agency workers after figures revealed it spent more than £3million on temporary staff in three months.

Agency workers cost the local authority £1.28million in March, £1.01million in April and £1.23million in May this year.

Members of SBC’S Employment and Appeals Committee met on Thursday (July 2) to discuss the council’s partnership with Matrix SCM who has been granted a new two-year contract to help fill temporary roles at the local authority.

Lola Makinde, HR business partner at Slough Borough Council, told the meeting the council has tended to use agency staff to fill specialist jobs.

She said: “In the last 18 months we’ve been looking at the number of agency staff we’ve engaged through the Matrix platform. It appears what managers were looking for was temporary solutions for 6-9 months.

“What we don’t want to do is recruit a new member of staff and then if we have to restructure we have to make them redundant.”

Cllr Shafiq Chaudry (Lab, Central) questioned why the council had not permanently recruited agency staff who had been working for the council for more than two years.

The meeting was told Matrix SCM is aiming to turn more temporary positions into permanent jobs at the council.

Cllr Safdar Ali (Lab, Central) told the meeting: “The whole policy should be based on the fundamental point that the council needs to have less reliance on temporary staff.

“Where staff have been there (at the council) for more than two years as far as I am concerned they are becoming permanent temporary.

“If that member of staff is required to work for the council the council should employ them permanently rather than keep hiring for the agency and save some money.”

The new contract, which will use Matrix SCM’s ‘hybrid model’, is expected to save the council about £110,000 a year by reducing the amount of money spent on statutory labour fees.

Councillors also heard how the council is planning to carry out a ‘wholesale review’ of all its agency workers.

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  • be_ transparent

    15:18, 09 July 2020

    The Slough Observer is reporting in May Slough Council spent over £1.2 million for 30,563 hours agency work in May 2020 - that's an average of over £39 per hour !!!! Or on average, full time agency staff incur a bill of well over £1400 a week :-O.

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  • be_ transparent

    23:56, 08 July 2020

    I am glad Lola Makinde has been looking at what's been going on for the last 18 months. Problem is - some of us have been watching the agency staff swindle go on at Slough Council for the last 10 years. It has been brought up time and time again. Complaints have been made to the council with specifics. But here we are, still with a million pound a month gravy train, ten years later still not dealt with. Unfortunately without some very determined senior management action the rot will continue. The difficult question for senior execs to answer is why this never gets dealt with when so many other companies put a stop to this years ago with simple HR policies around maximum allowable length of tenure of agency staff and grounds for dismissal of non compliant managers.

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