AGENCY staff cost Wiltshire Council an extra £240k due to a shortage in social workers between April and September. Over the three month period, £1.79m was paid to 109 agency workers across the council, a rise of £240k compared to the previous three months. Agency staff are being used to fill 20 vacant social worker positions, which were described as one reason for the increase in staff costs. Amanda George, head of HR, said: “There is a small pool of social workers and everyone wants them.

"We face direct competition from other authorities. Social worker recruitment is a problem and it is very difficult. We currently have 20 agency staff filling full time social worker positions and we are trying to fill these roles”