Huge Increase In Government Spend On Temps & Consultants

The Financial Times reports a huge increase in government spending on contingent workers between 2018-19 and 2021-22. Their analysis shows the amount spent across core government departments in the last 3 years on:
  • Temporary workers increased by 115% to £1.5bn
  • Consultants increased by 130% to to £723m
It’s no surprise that department of health spend on contingent workers rocketed in the same period, no doubt due to strain on the NHS caused by Covid.  The figures are massive:
  • 1500% increase spend on temps to £416m
  • 1200% increase spend on consultants to £252m

Many people will think this spend is wrong, but we disagree. It’s about time we valued our contingent workforce, and particularly all the temps that stepped up during covid.  A TEDx talk from 18 months ago discussing temps during Covid is still relevant:

“This was an unseen army of unsung heroes who quietly went about their day to day work, doing critical jobs so that the rest of us could exist during lockdown.” 

Contingent workers are brought in to do work that can’t be filled by permanent staff. Until workforce planning can somehow magically predict sufficient staff resources for every unforeseen circumstance, (and attract & retain sufficient permanent staff) then we will continue to rely on this important workforce to get us through high pressure times. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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