THE last government spent more than £100 million on consultants and other temporary staff during its final year, it has emerged.
But the latest six-monthly spending report did not reveal the daily rate charged by consultants ‘due to commercial concerns’.
Changes in ‘economic circumstances’ and the impact of the pandemic were cited as factors causing specialist skills shortages and recruitment issues that continued into last year, according to the recently published government report.
The sixth and seventh iterations of the biannual report cover July to December 2021 and January to June 2022, when former Chief Minister John Le Fondré and his government still held office. The total cost of consultants, interims, fixed-term employees and agency staff fees for each period was £47m and £54m respectively.
Of the main government schemes, around £22m was spent on consultants for the now-shelved Our Hospital project, while more than £7m went to consultants for the ITS programme – which aims to overhaul the government’s finance, payroll and procurement computer systems.
‘The daily rate of consultants has not been shown, due to commercial concerns over releasing this information,’ the report note.
It adds: ‘Instead, it was felt that showing the total cost for the period reported will provide more accurate information for members. In addition, consultants often work across several projects, meaning separating the cost of each individual engagement is not possible at this point.’
In total around £30m was spent on consultants and £19m in ‘contingent labour’, defined as individuals contracted to perform specific roles rather than being directly employed by government because ‘operational expertise is not available in-house’.
The report states that the government’s ability to attract permanent and fixed-term employees into specific roles was affected by the pandemic and ‘changing economic circumstances which lead to a shortage of specialist skills’.
‘There has also been a significant number of major programmes which are agreed in the Government Plan which have needed needing specialist expertise, such as Our Hospital and the Integrated Technology Solution programme,’ it continues.
From July 2021 to June 2022, more than £27m was spent on fixed-term contractors, while over £18m was spent on healthcare and social workers from agencies.
The requirement for the government to produce the six-monthly spending reports is the result of a proposition from Deputy Kirsten Morel, which was passed in the States in 2019.