COUNCILLORS in Shetland have demanded the reins be tightened on staff recruitment after figures showed the local authority’s employment costs had rocketed by 43 per cent in just four years.
Since 2006 the number of full time equivalent posts at Shetland Islands Council has grown by 440, rising from just over 2,500 to just under 3,000.
The annual wage bill has gone up by £30 million to £99 million, with more than £5 million down to last year’s single status deal that helped the lowest paid workers.
Councillors have asked for more details about where the extra jobs have been created, though acting chief executive Hazel Sutherland said they were mostly in community care.
Councillor Gary Robinson said that Shetland must have the highest number of jobs per capita advertised on the internet site MyJobScotland, where on Wednesday 28 jobs were on offer, mostly in the field of social care.
He said with the SIC’s high turnover of staff, numbers could be cut through natural wastage. He also suggested other organisations could carry out some of the work done by the council at present.
Councillor Jonathan Wills added: “I am not ashamed to be spending lots of money on hiring good people to do necessary jobs, but what I am concerned about is this unconstrained growth.
“In future when the council does it budgeting exercise we need percentages so we can see the proportion by which things are growing, and we also very much need to know the staffing implications of every decision we make because we can’t keep on growing by five per cent a year. It’s crazy.”
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