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PRISM: Whitehall departments have appalling complacency over contractors

Experts fear the availability of contractors will drop drastically if travel expenses are slashed as proposed in April, hitting essential public services.

An announcement is due over the controversial changes in this week’s Autumn Statement.

Trade body PRISM, which has been attempting to defeat the plans with its Yes2T&S campaign (T&S), quizzed a selection of Whitehall departments using freedom of information laws.

Departments in charge of education, health, energy and climate change and transport were all asked what measures they had taken to try to assess the impact of the policy change.  They all revealed no impact assessment had been carried out.

CEO, Crawford Temple, said, “The lack of planning and horizon scanning by departments responsible for some of our most treasured public services demonstrates appalling complacency. 

“How can you plan for expenditure if you don't foresee the most flexible workers, those you turn to when gaps appear, expecting significantly more for their time.”

PRISM earlier revealed the true cost of T&S changes.

Contractors in the construction sector will lose  &pound6,084 a year on average, nurses &pound4,650 a year and supply teachers &pound3,252 a year.

Temple said the Ministry of Defence had misunderstood the changes altogether, with officials apparently believing they would be unaffected by the changes because they rarely paid out such expenses directly to workers.

The MoD, which spent &pound136m on agency workers in the financial year to April 2015, stated: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement in the 2015 Budget that tax relief will be restricted for home-to-duty travel and subsistence by workers engaged through an employment intermediary will have minimal impact on MOD spending levels.

“This is because, under the Civil Service Management Code, government departments and agencies are permitted to meet part or all of the cost of home-to-duty travel only in exceptional circumstances.”

The Department for Transport said it had not carried out an impact assessment but anticipated the impact would be “negligible in the context of the Department’s overall budget”.

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