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Usage by councils of temporary labour in legal up by almost a third: research

The use by local authorities of temporary labour in legal services was 31% higher in the final quarter of 2012 compared to the same period twelve months before, research has suggested.

According to data collected by supply management specialists Comensura, this was against a backdrop of a slight decrease (0.1%) overall in temporary labour usage among local authorities.

In addition to legal, other areas to see growth were IT, sales/marketing and professional services (including HR, procurement and other managerial roles). These saw increases of 34%, 33% and 19% respectively.

These rises were counterbalanced by fewer roles in call centres (-34%), construction (-23%), transportation (-36%) and hospitality (-40%).

Jamie Horton, Managing Director at Comensura, said: “This is a transition period in an age of austerity. The initial reaction to spending cuts was a blanket cut in the use of temporary labour in local authorities.

“However as time moves on and the cuts move deeper, redundant roles or vacant positions appear to be being filled with temporary workers. We don’t expect this trend to change any time soon as the economic climate makes it difficult for organisations to gain authorisation for new permanent staff.”

Horton added that some local authorities had replaced temporary resources with fixed term contracts in an attempt to save money.

“While this is an encouraging sign that local authorities are thinking smarter to meet demand amidst spending cuts, it’s important that effective workforce planning measures are in place to ensure spend is managed in the long-term,” he argued.

The Comensura Government Index shows the usage of temporary labour across 79 of the company’s clients in England and Wales during 2011 and 2012.