Sharp rise in spending on agency staff and consultants at Corby Council

The Cube in Corby
The Cube in Corby

Spending on agency staff and consultants by Corby Council has increased by more than three quarters, with the authority saying the sharp rise is due to its struggle to recruit planning officers.

In 2017-18 the authority spent £896,746 on external staff compared to £493,949 the year before.

£358,704 of the money spent on agency and consultants was within the planning department and covered the costs of six planning officers and a consultant.

The authority’s environmental services department also spent £132,671 on temporary staff.

The figures were revealed at the overview and scrutiny meeting at Corby Cube on Tuesday (June 19).

A spokesman for Corby Council said: “Being able to recruit within the planning sector is currently an issue not just in Corby but in general.

“However, it is important to note that we have not exceeded our budget to cover the costs of these posts.

“The costs have been met through the borough council’s forward way of thinking in being able to bring in additional income as well as salary savings from the vacant posts.

“Corby is a growth area and it is vital that we ensure we can cover the increasing workload of planning applications that are at the forefront of fulfilling the borough’s growth agenda while bringing in significant funding for the authority.”

A total of £66,236 was spent by both departments on consultants and a report considered by councillors on the committee said the increased spend on consultants in environmental health was down to the plans to share the waste recycling service with Kettering Council.

The increased spend on consultants in planning was because of the increase in planning applications across the borough.

Figures given following the meeting from the authority say that altogether the two departments saved more than £72,000 from its budget.

The majority of the savings were made through the additional incomes generated through the planning department on application fees.