Agency manager at Northamptonshire children's services was paid equivalent of £99,000 salary

One Angel Square
One Angel Square

An outgoing manager in Northamptonshire's much-criticised children's services was being paid the equivalent of almost £100,000 a year.

The unnamed 'service manager' was employed at Angel Square on an agency basis and earned £48 per hour. Based on 9 to 5 hours, he would have earned £99,840 in one year.

One Angel Square

One Angel Square

Figures uncovered by this newspaper show the five highest-earning agency staff in children's services in September were on equivalent salaries of up to £429,000. That represents almost two-thirds of the department's agency budget.

It comes a day after another damning Ofsted report that criticised the high turnover of staff in children's services and its dependence on agency staff. The service manager is set to leave imminently and the second-highest agency earner - a project manager - has since left the council.

A member of children's services staff estimated the service manager position would attract a salary of £45,000.

They said: "For the few of us that are employed, we are on an average salary of £28,000. But a very large amount of staff have been with us for many years via agencies.

One Angel Square

One Angel Square

"That's why children's services is in a mess, the agency bill is outrageous.

"But we can't speak out as our managers are agency workers."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said it is normal in a large organisation for there to be some interim roles, to be used for a variety of reasons.

He said: “In certain instances, highly skilled specialist support is needed in areas where it is not available within the council.

“We are constantly trying to drive down the use of agency workers in the county council, and since 2017 this has reduced by about 17 per cent.

“Additionally, agency staff are not eligible for sick-pay, holiday pay or pension contributions. These add on extra costs to the salary of a direct employee.”

The council said the service manager "has been given notice and leaves imminently and we are advertising for permanent recruitment."

The project manager "was delivering a piece of work around the transformation programme and has now left", the council said.

The other three top earners were a social worker and two children's team managers.

The spokesman said: "Social Worker/Team Manager roles are covering vacancies that we have not been able to recruit to but we have a rolling recruitment programme and are putting additional resource into permanent recruitment.