An HR consultant, who ran up a £100k bill in just six months, has had his contract extended three times for a total of 28 months as a result of the government falling behind with its major restructure of the civil service.
Darren Skinner is one of three HR specialists to have had his contract extended as the 'Target Operating Model' (TOM) - a blueprint mapping out the new 'OneGov' hierarchy and the roles of every employee within it - fell further and further behind schedule.
The major restructure was meant to be completed by the end of last year, but now won't be in place until the end of this quarter.
The revelation about Mr Skinner, which came in a response to a request made under the Freedom of Information Law, comes as costly consultancy contracts are coming under increased public and political scrutiny, particularly after it was revealed the government had spent £11m on consultants in just six months.
The FOI response stated that Mr Skinner was first recruited in April 2018 as an ‘Interim contractor’ at HR Director level - along with three others - to “support the design and delivery of Health and Community Services Target Operating Model and improve HR operational practise”.
During that initial engagement, he commissioned an investigation into a £750k pay blunder in the Health Department.
Pictured: Mr Skinner's contract was first extended in June 2018.
In June 2018, after the HR Consultants’ assignment was completed, Mr Skinner was hired to cover the Health and Community Services (HCS) Department due to his background in health. It followed the departure of the previous HR Director of HCS and the role being removed from the department’s structure.
At the time, Mr Skinner’s contract was extended by 13 months to the end of June 2019. On 1 July 2019, the contract was extended for a further four months, to the end of October 2019.
The Government said both were for the “continuation of Target Operating Model activity in HCS”.
On 1 November, Mr Skinner’s contract was extended for 12 months, to the end of October 2020. “This extension relates to the TOM of People and Corporate Services,” the Government said. “The role has been extended to allow the transition to a new corporate team of colleagues within health.”
Mr Skinner is one of three consultants hired to work on the subject of HR - out of 13 original recruits - to have had their contract extended since 2018.
Pictured: Mr Skinner is tasked with leading the human resources team in Health and Community Services covering the hospital, medical workforce and community-based services.
He is currently employed as Associate HR Director for Health and Community Services, leading the human resources team in Health and Community Services covering the hospital, medical workforce and community-based services.
The Government described the role as pivotal in “assisting in the transition and implementing the proposed changes as part of the TOM and a proposed new care delivery model for Jersey.”
They added: “The role is now focused on all business as usual activity as well as providing high-level support and overview of the development of the TOM and consultation and delivery for 2020.”
This latest extension was approved by the States Employment Board in early December as part of “the transitional arrangements to the TOM for People and Corporate Services”. Such approval is required for all senior and interim appointments remunerated at the equivalent to Civil Service Grade 15 and those at a rate of £100,000 per annum and above or at £380 a day and above for Interim appointments.
According to the first report produced by the Chief Minister on the use of consultants, the cost of Mr Skinner’s engagement as “Interim HR Director” was between £75,000 and £99,999 for the first half of 2019.
Pictured: Mr Skinner's day rate costs between £75,000 and £99,999 for six months.
Questioned by Express, the government said that the role will not be extended beyond October 2020 as the People and Corporate Services transition phase will have ended by then.
They further explained that the position occupied by Mr Skinner had been removed and that there were no plans to recruit someone into it on a permanent basis, stating: “The position is currently supernumerary to complete the HCS transformation and will complete in October 2020.”
News of the extension to Mr Skinner’s contract comes as the ‘Target Operating Model’ is still yet to be implemented.
It was due to be released in Spring 2019 and be in place by the end of the year, but has not yet been published. A government spokesperson said the new structure will now go 'live' 2 March.
Explaining the delays, a spokesperson said: “The new Group Director for People and Corporate Services started with the Government in June 2019, replacing one of the consultants. In his first six months he has redesigned People and Corporate Services and undertaken a consultation with employees as required by law.
“It was envisaged that the service would have been restructured prior to his arrival, however the volume of work undertaken by the department supporting other target operating models, along with the arrival of the new Group Director meant that the re-design work started in October.”
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