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Departmental Consultants

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) self-employed staff and (b) outside contractors were employed in his Department in each year since 2004; and how much was spent on each category in each of those years. (207649)

The Department employs temporary staff for a variety of reasons, including:

to cover short-term vacancies, such as the need for administrative support;

to fill posts temporarily because they are likely to be relocated or because structural changes are being implemented; and

to provide skills that the Department does not have but needs urgently and/or on a short-term basis.

It does not separately identify numbers or costs of self employed staff and outside contractors.

On numbers, the quality and coverage of information held historically by the Department on temporary workers has been limited. We have therefore been working over the past year to improve our recording, in preparation for the launch of a new human resources and finance system this summer. We think that some of our historic numbers may slightly underestimate actual levels. Recent quarterly figures are shown as follows:

Date

Number

31 December 20061

222

31 March 2007

179

30 June 2007

176

30 September 2007

165

31 December 2007

141

31 March 2008

152

1 Figures are not available before December 2006.

On costs, financial year figures since April 2004 are shown as follows:

£000

2004-05

12,800

2005-06

6,000

2006-07

7,126

2007-08

9,742

Note:

The 2006-07 figure is based on a scaling up of expenditure in the first 11 months of the year. The 2007-08 figure is based on a detailed analysis of expenditure in March 2008 and assumes the same level of monthly expenditure was incurred throughout the year.