Councillors ‘call-in’ Croydon mayor’s £20 million a year temporary workers contract
Concerns about a multi-million-pound agency staff contract, awarded by Croydon’s new mayor, were raised by the authority’s scrutiny committee.
The four-year temporary workers’ contract is understood to be worth up to £20 million a year, although full details about the provider and costs are not published by the council.
The contract is expected to start in November and last for four years. The cost of the contract varies year by year as it depends on demand for agency staff at the council.
So far this year, the council has spent £16.5 million on agency staff. In 2021 the total spend was £14.7 million and it came to £24 million in 2020.
The council’s cabinet agreed that the appointment decision would be made by the Mayor of Croydon, Jason Perry, using a list of providers from a central service.
But this decision was “called in” by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee meeting.
It wanted reassurance that the approach delivered the best value for money and that due process had been followed.
Before the meeting, leader of the Labour opposition, Stuart King, raised concerns that the mayor had not gathered quotes from other leading providers of the service.
He said: “The mayor is proposing to spend many millions of pounds a year through this contract and yet he has failed to get priced quotes from the leading providers of this service.
“How can the mayor be confident he is getting best value for the taxpayers of Croydon?”
Addressing concerns about whether it represented value for money, a report to the committee said there were no minimum spends as part of the contract and that rates are “locked in” for the duration of the contract.
Due to financial details being disclosed much of the discussion was not held in public.
At the end of the meeting, the committee was satisfied with the way the contract was awarded.
This means the issue will not be referred to full council or cabinet.
Chair of the committee Councillor Rowenna Davis said: “In the end, we got the reassurances we needed to feel that the contract could go ahead.
“We have made a series of recommendations about how to get this information out early.”
In response to the call-in, Mayor Perry said: “The extension of this scheme is a normal part of this process, it is the same system we have used previously.”