The Department of Trade & Industry last year tripled its spending on temporary staff despite being ordered to slash employee costs.
The DTI’s recently published resource accounts show it spent £24.1m on agency workers in 2004-05, compared with £7.4m in the previous year.
The government’s Gershon efficiency review instructed the DTI to save £20m a year by “rationalising back-office functions”.
The department was also told to reduce its headcount from 4,200 to 2,920 within four years. But by the end of 2004-05 – nearly nine months after the efficiency report was published – the DTI had cut 33 posts.
The DTI told the Sunday Telegraph: “There are times when all government departments will need to make use of agency and temporary staff. For instance, during particularly large projects or where a specialist skill is required.
“Since April 2005 we have significantly reduced the number of temporary and agency workers we use and will continue to do so.”