Monday 6 November 2017

Brent Council spent £12.7m on temporary workers in 2016-17

Brent Council's contract with Reed for temporary workers (contingent labour) comes to an end next year and officer's recommend a new 'hybrid' contract with Comensura Limited.

The report by Mildred Phillips, Head of Employment Services LINK states:
Temporary workers represent an important part of the Council’s workforce. The use of temporary workers enables staffing levels to be quickly flexed in line with peaks and troughs of overall workloads. Temps are sometimes used to fill vacant posts before and during restructures to manage the risk of redundancies. They are also used where permanent posts are hard to fill.
In 2016-17 Brent spent £12.7million on temporary staff and the report envisages that the new 3 year contract with Comensura would total £38.1million for the period with fees totalling £2.7m over the 3 years - an expected saving of £0.2m. This projection implies that no reduction in the use of supply staff is envisaged although one would expect a Labour council to be keen to give its labour force all the advantages of permanent status.

Interestingly Tower Hamlets Council, currently with Comensura, are moving to Adecco Group Services for their contract. Adecco were unable to fulfil the 2012 contract with Brent Council due to 'shortage of resources', however Comensura may also have its problems.

The Tower Hamlets Cabinet Report (May 2017) LINK states:

Comensura have around 200 agencies within their supply chain. In recent months Comensura have had some issues maintaining their relationship with some of these agencies. This is mainly due to the reduction of agency fees for particular roles whereby Comensura have agreed reduced rates with the Council to deliver further savings. The rates have not always been agreed with the supply chain agencies, who later notify Comensura of difficulties in the supply of particular roles because mark ups are too low. There have been instances where current workers have left because of reduced agency margins. E.g. in the last six months Social workers, Para Legals, Civil Enforcement Officers. This poses a concern for the council in that we may lose certain categories of assignments.

Presumably Mildred Phillips would have checked with her counterparts in other London boroughs when considering the Comensura award.

Two of the documents associated with this report are 'restricted' i.e. the public and non-Cabinet members cannot see them, but it would be interesting to know more about the wages and conditions of workers once Comensura and its supply chain have taken their share of the fees paid by the Council.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last look showed about 16 job opportunities with some just on 1 year or 2 year contracts, along with Casual vacancies and Apprenticeships. Either way they are still paying way over the odds for Temp staff to the agencies, irrespective of who is running the contract. Don't know why they don't take it in-house and have a bank system like NHS. Pay everyone the living wage and ensure they all live in Brent, and travel by public transport. That would surely help air pollution, up the living standards of the residents.