Temps cost cash-strapped council nearly £7m

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ALMOST £7million has been spent on agency staff and consultancy fees over the last three years by East Dunbartonshire Council.

According to figures released to Councillor David Ritchie, the local authority spent more than £2.2million in 2008/2009, £2.5million in 2009/2010 and almost £2million in 2010/2011 on agency workers and consultants.

Councillor Ritchie said: “I am shocked. Over three years this council has spent £7million on services it should be able to provide in-house at a reduced cost. At a time when they are trying to cut staff they are wasting millions of pounds.

“Tax payers money is being wasted. The council will have to explain why it has to use external companies for services it should provide internally.”

Diane Campbell, director of corporate and customer services, said: “The council continues to strive to reduce the amount it spends buying in external services.

“In 2010/11, the council spent £1.9million on external agency staff and consultants, compared with £2.2million in 2008/2009.

“We have continued to reduce this level of spend over recent years, but there are still situations where specific skills may not be available in-house or where staffing levels don’t meet service demand and we must ensure there are no gaps in service delivery.

“In light of the increasing budget challenges we face, the council has put in place a number of measures including the Strategic Operating Model, which will continue to drive down expenditure and achieve further efficiencies by finding new and improved ways of delivering services in the most cost effective way.

“As far as possible the council will always look, in the first instance, to deliver these services in-house before seeking external support.”