More than 100 agency staff have been working for Islington Council for over two years

Islington Town Hall. Photograph: Islington Citizen

More than 100 agency staff have been doing work for Islington Council for over two years, a Town Hall report has revealed.

According to the report, written by human resources director Julie Foy, this applies to 116  “contingent” agency workers, consultants and interim staff.

There were 242 working for more than a year.

The council has a principle that agency workers’ tenure should not exceed a year.

It brings in people with specialist skills or to do short-term frontline cover when needed.

The report for the council’s policy and performance scrutiny committee revealed that in September, 30 people were employed at a daily rate of £450 or more – totalling more than £13,500 a day.

However, the council is planning to cut the use of agency staff to meet its 10 per cent target.

By the end of September, 11 per cent of workers were agency staff, making Islington one of the London councils using the least number of workers supplied by an employment agency.

Between April and September, Islington council spent £12.9m on agency workers. This included £592,000 on people delivering Covid lateral flow tests.

The pressures of coping with the pandemic saw the agency spend increase by £67,000 over the first six months of this year, compared with last year.

According to a council report, its spend on agency staff has dropped by £525,000 if the money it spent on people doing lateral flow tests is excluded.

The policy and performance scrutiny committee had asked for more details of the interim staff commanding high day rates.

They include project managers in IT and digital services and the council’s workplace modernisation project, as well as cover for senior managers in people services.

This has decreased from 46 people last September and is below one per cent of the council’s workforce.

The Town Hall has introduced a “temp to perm” plan which saw three senior agency posts transferred to fixed term contracts in 2021/22.

The report said “further work needs to be carried out by departments to transfer staff in non-managerial posts”.

It said the council has taken steps to control the number of high cost agency and interim staff.

It read: “In some instances, numbers have been reduced by the recruitment of permanent employees, conversion to fixed term contracts where
appropriate to retain specialist skills for a limited period and through negotiated reductions in day rates and charge rates.”