The number of Government employees increased by 530 between June 2019 and 2020 - the majority of whom were consultants hired on short-term contracts to train local staff.
Revealing the figures during a Scrutiny hearing this week, Treasury Minister Deputy Susie Pinel said interim staff made up the bulk of the new recruits due to local employees lacking the necessary qualifications required for the transformation taking place within Government.
Her comments followed a question by Deputy Rob Ward during a Scrutiny hearing with the Government Plan Review Panel.
The St. Helier representative had asked why the number of people employed by the Government had grown by 530 from June 2019 to 2020 at what he described as “a time when there has been pressure on efficiencies through the public service."
Pictured: Deputy Susie Pinel, the Treasury Minister.
While she said she wasn’t aware of the figures Deputy Ward was referring to, Deputy Pinel admitted “there has certainty been an increase."
“A lot of it is interim staff who have to be brought here because we don’t have the necessary qualifications in people here in the very large transformation that’s taking place,” she went on to say.
“A lot of that has been interim staff who then train up staff here to take over, so three to six-month contracts, but if you take all of those into the equation you may reach that number, but I haven’t seen that number.”
Later on in the hearing, the Minister admitted interim staff are more expensive due to their travel, moving costs and accommodation costs. She however assured that the Government would be advancing opportunities for local training and that the Government Plan included resources for that.
Commenting on the need for consultants, she explained: “The whole idea is succession planning and the staff that come here, the consultants that come here, train our own people this is exactly what is happening in tax at the moment.”
Pictured: Deputy Pinel said the Tax Department had seen a “huge increase in efficiency”.
Questioned about efficiencies within the workforce, Deputy Pinel assured it was still the aim.
She said the Taxes Office had seen a “huge increase in efficiency” after “a complete lack of recruitment” which had led to a number of vacancies.
She said the department now only had four vacancies, despite the outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Parker, having assured in October that all vacancies had been filled.
Deputy Ward then asked whether the number of employees would go up once vacancies in Health have been filled, continuing to question the difficulties behind the recruitment of qualified staff and whether that should be one of the targets within the covid recovery plan.
The Minister responding by explaining how there is a “constant shortage of staff."
“It’s quite difficult with having to bring people in, essential workers, care workers, nursing staff in them having to isolate,” Deputy Pinel said.
“So, it’s quite a big management structure, it’s not easy to manage a situation like that with all the difficulties that have been thrown at us.
“I am not excusing the situation I am just saying it’s more than just bringing a few nurses in, it’s a far bigger problem than just that; and that goes the same across the board with all sorts of essential workers, teachers included.”
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