To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much his Department has spent on (a) consultants, (b) temporary staff and (c) contingent labour in each of the last five years; how many people have been so employed; what the length of contract of each such person was; and what equivalent civil service salary band each was on.
The numbers of non-permanent staff (headcount) engaged during any given financial year have been as follows:
(1) The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. We contract for consultancy work on the basis that the provider delivers a defined output at an agreed price rather than a specific individual or individuals whose remuneration is a matter for the service provider.
(2) Contingent Labour (also known as Manpower Substitution) is generally engaged on a temporary basis to fill vacant, funded posts until recruitment action is taken to appoint a salaried permanent member of staff. Included in this category are temporary admin and clerical workers, interim managers, and specialist contractors (in finance, HR, IT and other functions). We do not currently record numbers engaged for Contingent Labour sourced locally, so the statistics given are not directly comparable with the associated costs.
(3) The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. This information will, however, be recorded centrally from 2014-15. Fee earners are engaged for a temporary period to provide a particular service or specialist skill; they are paid an agreed fee for their work.
(4) Casual staff are engaged for a short-term period to undertake tasks that are one off or irregular and cannot be done by the permanent workforce or where the job requires expertise not readily available from within the permanent workforce.
Information on the average length of contracts and salary band equivalency could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
We seek to strike the best balance between what we resource internally and what we resource through external appointments; so, where we do contract for private-sector support, it must be fully justifiable and provide value for money to the taxpayer. It does not make economic sense for us to maintain all the specialist skills we need permanently in-house, and access to some level of private-sector expertise is consequently of enduring value to us. This is particularly the case at present, as we are going through a period of fundamental change in the way we do our business in response to the Levene reforms. As a result, we have needed in the short term to bring in specialist skills which cannot be found among the permanent workforce.
We are also keen to benefit from external expertise through skills-transfer to our own staff. This helps to make us more self-reliant and resilient in the longer term.