08 August 2007 | Paul Snell
Birmingham City Council believes it can save £5 million on its temporary labour spend.
The authority currently spends around £51 million a year on temporary workers, the highest of all UK local authorities according to a 2006 survey.
The council's cabinet has now voted in favour of appointing a "managed service provider" (MSP) to manage workers from external agencies. An MSP liaises between council and agencies, but is not a supplier itself.
A 2003 report highlighted "many concerns" about the way the council achieved value for money from its temporary staff. Although it now operates framework agreements for hiring some workers, nearly £20 million of spend is still not covered.
The council said an MSP would create cashable efficiency savings of £5 million, reduce the amount of spend not covered by frameworks and create jobs for local people. The number of invoices the council receives will also be reduced by 5,300, saving more than £227,000 in processing costs.
The procurement team will be part of a project management group that will select the appropriate method and provider.
Councillor Alan Rudge, cabinet member for equalities and human resources, said: "These proposals are a significant step forward for the way in which we hire temporary staff. This will give the organisation greater flexibility and reduce the need to use temporary staff."