MORE temporary staff are to be recruited by Hampshire County Council as part of a new business venture with Kent.

The agency staff will be used in a wide range of roles to meet “the growing demand for services, particularly in social care”, the authority says

It comes as the council joins forces with Kent County Council’s Commercial Services Kent Ltd (CSKL), to create a new agency.

The company will be jointly owned by the two authorities, with a 50 per cent stake each. The total set-up cost of the agency is expected to be £320,000.

While the agency, based in Hampshire, will be responsible for the recruitment of temporary staff across roles within the county council, from specialist IT staff to general admin support roles, there will be a “particular focus” on recruiting into social care, where, the council says, a significant demand for additional staff to plug gaps on a temporary basis is most evident.

Leader of the council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: “In common with local authorities across the country, Hampshire is facing unprecedented demand for services, particularly in adult and children’s social care.

"As this grows, so our need to recruit temporary staff to supplement our permanent workforce increases, but the challenges of doing so are significant.

"This is mainly due to a buoyant local jobs market with intense competition for good quality staff, as well as the perceived lack of access by temporary workers to training, development and the many benefits associated with working ‘in-house’.

“By creating what is effectively our own in-house agency, drawing on the expertise of our partners in Kent who have a similar set-up locally, our aim is to attract and retain good temporary staff over a longer period. In doing so, we would hope that many will take the opportunity to convert to permanent employment with us, which we would welcome.

“Through the launch of this agency, we will ensure a more cost effective solution to providing the good quality care Hampshire residents deserve.”

Currently, the council employs 2,000 temporary staff at any one time.

Chief Executive Officer of CSKL, John Burr, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Hampshire in their aim to attract and retain good quality temporary staff. This joint endeavour is very much building on the good work that Hampshire and Kent have both done over recent years and combining that with Hampshire’s local supporting agencies, who will have a significant role to play going forwards.

“This is an innovative solution that will deliver significant benefit to the residents of Hampshire”.