Manchester council paid an agency £645 a day for more than a year to provide a social care manager – money that could have saved a care centre which is threatened with closure, according to Unison.
The public sector union calculated that at the rate paid by Manchester council for the senior manager in the council’s children, families and social care department, the total outlay amounted to £190,000.
Unison claims this figure would be enough to save a care centre for older people which is threatened with closure because the council cannot afford to make alterations needed under the National Care Standards Act.
Phil Widdall, Unison regional officer, told the Guardian: “We have been given information that one temporary manager employed through some sort of agency was paid in excess of £190,000 – that is £645 per day – for just 14 months’ work, outstripping by far the pay of even the most senior officers of the council.
“While apparently paying such a salary to a manager, the department claims it cannot afford to maintain the Whitemoss Centre for the elderly in Blackley, which needs £183,000-worth of building alterations to bring it in line with national care standards,” he added.
The agency worker concerned filled two posts over the 14-month period while the council tried to recruit permanent staff.
A Manchester council spokeswoman told the Guardian that Unison had presented “a heavily distorted” picture of the costs which are incurred by the council through the use of interim managers.
“Every effort is made to minimise both the cost of interim managers and the amount they are used, as the ideal solution is clearly that all senior managerial posts should be filled permanently by council staff,” she said.
“However, as our priority is to ensure that residents receive the best and most continuous care we can provide, in the event that a post is temporarily vacant it is vital that it should be filled by someone with experience and skill.”