Shropshire Council’s spend on agency workers has nearly quadrupled in the last seven years – with it nearly doubling in the last 12 months.

In data released to the Whitchurch Herald, it was revealed that the unitary authority has spent £12 million in the last financial year on agency workers – more than double the £5.5m it had spent in 2021-2022 and nearly quadruple the £3.3m spent in 2015-2016.

A spokesperson for Shropshire Council defended the spend and said the leap in spending was due to “a number of projects delivering improvements – in the areas of infrastructure, highways and developing our town centres – and these require a specialised skillset for a fixed period of time.

“We highly value our temporary workforce who enable us to deliver projects and services for the benefit of Shropshire, and we currently have a number of projects which require a specialised skillset for a fixed period of time. 


“In addition, difficulties in recruiting in the care market - which has been experienced nationally - have also increased our dependence on temporary workers to deliver essential services to vulnerable people.”

The rise in care costs is especially difficult as according to the council the difference in salary between most workers and their agency equivalent is “negligible”, however due to the market demand for workers agency carers can cost 33 per cent more.

The council also confirmed that it has not been monitoring how much of the overall spend was in fees to the recruitment agency themselves and said that the “information is not held. We don’t record the fees we pay recruitment agencies; this isn’t separated from the overall spend.”

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However, the council did confirm that it was similar to what they would be paying in workplace pension – something they do not have to do with agency workers.

A spokesperson for Shropshire Council added: “Our temporary workforce also covers periods of maternity, sickness, and vacancy cover and provides much-needed support during high periods of demand. 

“Our agency staff levels are closely monitored and part of the council’s new Shropshire Plan is to reduce our reliance on temporary workers.”