MORE than £5 million is being allocated by Dorset Council to take on temporary staff, including specialists and consultants over the next four years.

The authority says the decision is not a commitment to spend the money, but to allow it to do so, should the need arise.

A risk analysis has shown that one of the major concerns over the authority delivering services, and making changes, is having the right staff at the right time, some of which do not need to be employed full-time.

Finance brief holder Cllr Tony Ferrari says the temporary workers could be used anywhere in the organisation. He said the figure, although it sounded large, was only a small proportion of the annual £148 million salary bill.

“Short term contracts often provide the best value for money for us,” he told this week’s cabinet meeting (Tuesday).

Director for corporate development Aidan Dunn told councillors in a report: “Within the workforce of Dorset Council there is a diverse and broad range of skills and expertise, much of which has been built up over many years. There are however, occasions when specialist skills or expertise, which do not exist within the council’s own workforce, are required, or there are time restraints or other external factors that require external capacity.”

Cabinet unanimously agreed to the decision.