Agenda item



Committee considered a report which detailed the current Supply Staff arrangements in Carmarthenshire.  The report had been requested to review the cost effectiveness of the current external provision and to explore the potential viability of an in-house service provision.


The report set out the current arrangements, costings and potential alternative models for the provision of supply staff.  In this regard, Committee was interested to note that the Welsh Government would be implementing a National Supply Pool with a digital platform in an endeavour to develop options for a sustainable model of supply teaching with fair work across Wales.  It was noted that implementation would be on a staggered approach and Committee looked forward with interest to receiving an update following analysis of the pilot within Anglesey Local Authority.


A number of observations and queries were addressed, as follows:


In response to a query regarding the significant increase in agency staff expenditure in recent years, the Lead Business Partner explained that the costings may be attributable to the additional agency staff engaged by schools which had been paid for by Welsh Government grant funding as part of the post-pandemic recovery process.  Committee was advised that the funding would have primarily been awarded for the purpose of recruiting additional teaching and support staff, however due to the uncertainty around the duration of the grant funding, schools may have been reluctant to employ permanent staff which would have incurred additional redundancy costs following the cessation of funding. Accordingly, a reduction in overall agency spend was expected in line with the reduction or withdrawal of these grants.


The Head of Education and Inclusion Services clarified, in response to a question, that the additional expenditure was attributable directly to the increase in demand, as opposed to the rising costs of supply teachers.


Following a query, the Lead Business Partner outlined the costings and timescales involved in direct Local Authority employment, including on-costs compared with utilisation of Agency Staff which would include agency fees.  In this regard the Lead Business Partner confirmed that the minimum pay rate for Supply Teachers who held the Qualified Teacher Status was in line with the current published School Teacher’s Pay and Conditions (Wales) Document; nevertheless, schools were authorised to pay highly daily rates if appropriate. 


A discussion ensued on the differing roles of Supply Teachers with Qualified Teacher Status and Cover Supervisors.  In response to the concerns raised by Committee regarding the potential for schools to utilise more Cover Supervisors as a budget saving solution, the Head of Education and Inclusion Services outlined the quality of learning checks undertaken by the Authority and commented that schools should make effective use of a blend of both Supply Teachers and Cover Supervisors. 


Following a query regarding the allocation of funding for schools, the Head of Education and Inclusion Services confirmed that additional funding would be provided to schools with greater challenges, including those within deprived areas by way of core funding and grant supplements.


The Committee acknowledged that initial analysis suggested that none of the alternative models detailed within the report would result in savings to schools or the Authority. However, a change of approach to covering short-term teacher absences with a Cover Supervisor could generate some efficiencies with minimum impact on pupils and their learning. Accordingly, it was expressed that the way forward should incorporate a combined approach, with improved absence management processes to reduce the amount of supply cover needed, together with cost effective supply cover.





the report be noted and a further update be considered by the Committee following completion of the pilot study undertaken at Anglesey Local Authority.



the comments and observations made by the Committee in respect of the review of supply staff arrangements within Carmarthenshire Council be forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration.


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