Monday 08 July 2013 by Kathleen Hall

Numbers of temporary staff working on the Ministry of Justice's £500m National Offender Management Service (NOMS) IT system have soared as the government rushes to complete projects before the general election, research has revealed.

NOMS aims to share data across 125 prisons and 35 probation services. The project is due to be completed at the end of October.

According to research from recruitment firm Interim Partners, departments are using more interim managers to fix projects that have been difficult to deliver on time.

The average day rate for interims across central government has reached a two-year high at £839 a day, according to the body's survey of several thousand temporary staff working in government.

Some 43% of all temporary assignments were in the public sector in the first three months of 2013, up from just 28% in the last of quarter of 2012.

David Hunter, head of central and local government at Interim Partners, said: 'Previously, there has been a great deal of sensitivity across government when it came to engaging senior interim executives. That is now being tempered by the pressing need to drive significant projects to completion in the most timely and cost-effective manner possible.'

The MoJ was unable to provide figures for how many temporary executives are currently working on the NOMS project.

Meanwhile, justice minister Damian Green last week pledged £160m to fulfil ambitious plans to make courtrooms fully digital by 2016.

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