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Departmental Recruitment

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 7 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2010, Official Report, column 1313W, on departmental consultants, what the monetary value of contracts was held by (a) her Department and (b) its (i) agencies and (ii) non-departmental public bodies with external recruitment consultants for the recruitment of temporary and permanent staff in each of the last three years. (322561)

The spend on external recruitment consultants by the Department, its agencies and NDPBs in the last three financial years is as follows:

Spend (£ million)


DWP and agencies



April 2009 to February 2010 (to date)




April 2008 to March 2009




April 2007 to March 2008




Separation of DWP spend from that of its agencies could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

These figures should be seen in the context of a total staff count of over 100,000.

The spend in the period April 2009 to February 2010 was unusually high reflecting the need to quickly recruit over 15,000 additional staff into Jobcentre Plus to meet the extra demands created by the economic downturn. This action has paid off; Unemployment is now expected to be around 700,000 lower in 2010 than in the Budget 2009. The savings in benefits across the five years 2010-11 to 2014-15 compared with what was assumed at Budget 2009 is around £14 billion. This includes spend relating to housing benefit and council tax benefit as well as jobseeker’s allowance. I expect the spend on external recruitment consultants for 2010-11 to be substantially lower.

The Department advertises all vacancies through Jobcentre Plus in addition to other methods. In line with common practice, we will incur expenditure when our recruitment involves an element of specialist executive search. The use of external agencies allows the Department to access the networking and contact with senior executives in different disciplines and organisations outside of the civil service.