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3,000 jobs disappear at Dorset County Council

County Hall 1

Published at 7:01am 16th April 2018.

More than 3,000 jobs have disappeared at Dorset County Council over the past eight years – with the council now down to just over 4,000 full time equivalent posts.

Human Resources specialist Carl Wilcox says the figures have gone down steadily since December 2009 when 7,147 FTE jobs were on the roll.

Mr Wilcox told the Dorset County Council Staffing committee that the council had also been successful in reducing the amount of temporary staff it bought in: “We have had a significant reduction in agency staff and a significant reduction in the use of consultant spending over the 2017 calendar year.”

'Spending less on consultants '

Cllr Janet Dover welcomed the trend. She said she was pleased to see that spending on consultants had fallen by 42 per cent in 2017 while agency workers payments had dropped by 29 per cent in the year – compared with the previous 12 months.

“I’m particularly pleased to see this. It’s extremely good news…our own staff have so much to offer.

“There are times when agency staff are required, but I’m less sure about consultants. This is a good trend, let’s hope it continues.”

County Hall

Council leader Rebecca Knox defended taking on temporary extra staff: “At times there are unique qualities we need to buy in…sometimes we do need to bite the bullet and get experts in, otherwise we can put unnecessary pressure on our own staff by asking them to complete tasks they are not specialists in.”

The biggest user of agency staff is children’s services where the County Council has suffered long-term recruiting problems and one of the highest rates of staff turnover. Agency staff costs alone in the department amounted to almost £600,000 for the second quarter – to £564,000 for the third quarter of the 2017-18 financial year.

At the last head count, in February 2018, there were the equivalent of 28 agency social workers being used to cover vacancies, maternity leave, long term sickness and to help reduce caseloads.

One of the biggest changes in staff number came when around 1,500 posts were transferred in July 2015 to social care provider, Tricuro. The organisation was created by Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole councils.

It operates care homes, home care and day centres across Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole.

By Local Democracy Reporter - Trevor Bevins 

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