Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

London driving huge spend with agencies

  • Comment

London councils spend more than three times as much per head of population with recruitment agencies than the average in other regions, data shared exclusively with LGC suggests.

Lgc following the money final

Lgc following the money final

In 2015-16 councils in London spent £6.65 per head on recruitment and sourcing temporary staff. This was five times more than the lowest spending region, Yorkshire and the Humber, and triple the average spend outside London of £2 per head.

The figures are based on data from Porge Research’s illuminator tool which has been shared with LGC as part of our Following the Money series of articles.

Porge categorises recruitment as corporate expenditure, which as LGC revealed in the first article in the series was proportionately the second largest area of growth since 2012-13 at 19%. The £440m increase in spending with recruitment agencies accounted for more than two-fifths of this, with 29% of this increase down to growth in spending with recruitment agencies within London alone.

While higher wage costs in the capital will no doubt account for some of the difference, London workers are not earning five times as much as their counterparts in Leeds or Hull.

Selena Lansley, head of London Councils’ regional employers’ organisation, suggested the greater competition for staff in the capital was likely to be behind the higher spend by councils there.

Keeping the desired organisational balance is a constant challenge especially in a highly competitive London market

She said: “Keeping the desired organisational balance is a constant challenge especially in a highly competitive London market for some specific professions [such as the] social care sector. The London boroughs recognise this and are actively working to reduce the spend on agency staff.”

Biggest spenders 2015-16

London driving huge spend with agencies

The capital’s unique pressures mean its boroughs must spend far more than the national average on filling roles

Ms Lansley said one example of this was the Memorandum of Co-operation on Children’s Agency Social Workers, signed by all but two of the boroughs, which sets a maximum rate for agency workers and also aims to encourage social workers to take up permanent roles.

Nationally, eight of the 10 highest spending authorities were within London and most of those were within central London.

Alice Watson, managing director of Porge Research, said: “It’s a very stark contrast with some rural areas of England, where the local council is often the most desirable employer in the area, without the competition from other elite local employers that must inevitably impede recruitment within the London borough councils.”

As the largest authority in the country it is perhaps unsurprising that Birmingham City Council has the highest spend, however its challenges in recruiting children’s social workers in the wake of a series of critical Ofsted reports have been widely reported and are likely to have contributed to such a high spend.

The second biggest spender, Northamptonshire CC, has also had well publicised difficulty recruiting social workers. An ’inadequate’ Ofsted report in 2013, which ordered the council to expand its social worker workforce forced the council into increasing reliance on agency workers however the council is working to reduce this and was rated ’requires improvement’ earlier this year.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.