OVERTIME has become “almost institutional” at Moray Council, admits council leader Allan Wright.
However, reducing the authority’s overtime bill cannot happen overnight, he insisted.
He said the cross-party working group charged with identifying £30 million in savings at the council will look at overtime in the coming months.
However, Councillor Wright stressed that many vital services, such as roads gritting and maintenance, recycling centres and home care, rely on overtime to function properly.
The leader was responding to criticism from a local campaigner who has again attacked the authority for its failure to cut its overtime bill.
Ed McCann, from Hopeman, first raised concerns about overtime in ‘The Northern Scot’ last year. The council’s overtime bill was £4.78 million from April, 2011, to the end of November last year.
With 30,000 overtime claims in that period, that works out to be an average claim of more than £159, but the reasons for overtime were “not necessarily noted on the overtime claim form”, a council spokesman told Mr McCann in a Freedom of Information response.
Mr McCann, a former council employee who worked in the leisure and recreation department for 20 years, said this was not acceptable and the council must act to curb its overtime payments.
“For the size of the authority the level of overtime seems totally excessive, particularly in a time of austerity,” he said.
Read the full story in 'The Scot' print version.