Moves to slash £1.4m temporary staff bill at Mansfield council

Mansfield Civic Centre, home of Mansfield District Council.
Mansfield Civic Centre, home of Mansfield District Council.

The mayor of Mansfield says the council is making progress in slashing agency staff after the bill came to more than £1.4 million over the last three years.

Mayor Kate Allsop was quizzed at the latest Mansfield District Council meeting over the huge sum spent on relief workers since 2013.

The issue had been raised by Councillor Peter Crawford, who referred to the mayor’s recent column in the Chad in which she said she wanted to introduce a “more entrepreneurial approach” to how the council is run, and asked why so much had been spent on temporary workers.

The mayor said: “You are quite correct that I wish the council to be entrepreneurial and I have made it clear we wish to take on a more commercial approach. As such, the cabinet and I have taken many steps to change how we do our business.

“We put this into action within a few weeks of the election and like you Coun Crawford, I hold the same opinion that the use of agency staff was unjustified.

“With this in mind, we commissioned a review of the council’s use of agency staff, and in most cases it was used to address short-term staffing issues, often a result of sickness or during a recruitment process.

“A number of actions have been identified and applied to ensure the use of agency staff is kept to a minimum.”

It has been documented that more than £522,227 was spent on staff between 2013/14, £580,937 the following year and £314,346 so far for this financial year.

The highest number of temporary staff members was used in refuse collection.

Mrs Allsop said: “A service such as waste and recycling requires a consistent number of employers to operate and would not be cost effective to employ additional permanent staff to cover these fluctuations.”

Mrs Allsop said “skills audits” were taking place to train existing members of staff to take on different roles.

She said frequent reviews of agency staff had been implemented.

She said: “Following this review agency staff were reduced by 35 per cent.”