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Departmental Temporary Employment

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's policy is on the renewal of the contracts of (a) temporary and (b) agency staff. (264244)

Temporary staff may be recruited into the Department for Work and Pensions only for a maximum period of 39 weeks. Such appointments are renewed on an exceptional basis, up to a total period of employment not exceeding 12 months—as stipulated by the civil service recruitment code. Where the need is anticipated to be more than 39 weeks at the onset; recruitment should be through fair and open competition on fixed term or permanent appointments.

Agency workers are engaged by the Department to fill identified skills gaps or to provide support not currently available. Such appointments should be short term and in response to specific business requirements. Controls are in place to ensure any renewal of contracts beyond six, or exceptionally 12, months can be authorised only at a very senior level. Agency workers are brought into the Department via interim personnel framework agreements.