Whitehall's central legal services provider the Treasury Solicitors Department (TSol) is to recruit 40 lawyers after spending nearly £4.6m on temporary staff through outsourcer Capita, the Gazette can reveal.
The recruitment campaign is for advisory, commercial, employment and litigation lawyers at civil service grade 7, with salaries between £47,086 and £55,900.
Spending on interim lawyers rocketed between 2012 and May 2013 after the department, which carries out the vast majority of central government's litigation and employment law work, obtained exemption from a freeze on temporary staff. Capita supplies 'interim legal professionals' through the centrally negotiated Cipher framework agreement, dating from 2008.
A spokeswoman said that there was 'little difference' between the cost of temporary and permanent staff. However, she said 'a combination of staff turnover, moves within the Government Legal Service, maternity leave and promotions has increased the current demand for lawyers, hence a temporary increase in the number of interims in post'.
The Capita framework is managed by the Government Procurement Service and is due to be retendered shortly. TSol currently has 738 lawyers, including those on maternity leave and career breaks.
Interviews for the new posts will start next week.