Scilly’s Council Spends Six-Figure Sum Trying To Find Staff After Cash-Saving Restructure

town hall 11Scilly’s Council has been condemned by the Taxpayers Alliance after it emerged that the Town Hall has spent just over £100,000 on fees to recruitment agencies since April.

At least six different companies have been employed. These agencies usually provide a ‘matchmaker’ service, finding people for vacant roles but can also advise on which candidate is right for the job.

The six-figure sum appears to be at odds with Council Chairman Amanda Martin’s regularly repeated statements urging officers and members to cut costs.

The Council has been undergoing a significant ‘reshaping’ exercise this summer, initiated by new Chief Executive Theo Leisjer, with changes across most departments including a number of new senior management positions.

Cutting expenditure so the Council doesn’t eat into diminishing reserves was central to the redundancies and reorganisation.

But financial detail has been vague.

In September, St Mary’s councillor Gordon Bilsborough abstained from a vote on the restructuring because he says he hadn’t been provided with enough information on the potential savings.

Andy Sylvester is a campaign manager for the Taxpayers Alliance, an organisation set up to ensure public bodies are using our tax money effectively.

He says it “beggars belief” that the smallest local authority in the UK is spending a six-figure sum on recruitment consultants, especially when they’re cutting back on other services.

Andy says many other councils have cracked down on using agencies to find staff, in order to save money. He says with the internet, and professional network sites like LinkedIn, it’s becoming much easier to fill positions.

Andy says he’s aware of the changes taking place at Scilly’s Council, and he feels people whose jobs are at risk will be surprised at this large sum being spent.

He says islanders should be able to hold to account the people who are making these decisions and he feels the authority should explain how these costs have been incurred.

We asked the Council on Monday how such a large sum had been spent on recruitment so far this year.

They acknowledged receipt of our email but said no senior managers were available to answer our questions. They were attending an all-day session on Tresco.

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