Plenty of organisations hire temporary staff to fill in for an employee who is taking an extended absence.

They may also use an agency to help them find someone.

But when your agency worker has been with you for a year, they are no longer a temp. They are an employee, in the sense that most people would use the word.

And it makes no sense at all to pay them the type of salary usually associated with agency staff, whose pay reflects the added value they bring from turning up at short notice.

So it’s hard to see how Birmingham City Council can justify employing agency workers for more than a year, at the same time as paying them £300 a day or more.

In particular, while agency workers may be just as qualified and responsible as anyone else, one wonders whether staff in the children’s social services department shouldn’t be employed directly by the local authority.

The problem is, presumably, that the authority is struggling to find permanent workers to employ. Maybe it could offer some of its agency workers a job?