Senior managers will need to approve all interim CCG managers paid at above £600 per day, as part of new NHS England measures to limit costs.

The cap has been imposed by NHS England. It comes after it was revealed that a number “off payroll” interim executives have been paid up to £500,000 by clinical commissioning groups.

The NHS reset document published today said: “As part of the approach to securing best value for money, NHS England is… with effect from August 2016, introducing further controls on spending by CCGs and CSUs on interim labour, which totalled £275m in 2015-16.

“CCGs and CSUs will need to secure approval for day rates above £600 and for employment of interim staff beyond a six-month period and/or in senior decision-making positions.”

Freedom of information requests have revealed high rates of pay during 2015-16 at CCGs subject to intervention with NHS England.

One interim accountable officer, Elaine Jackson, cost East Surrey CCG £235,000 in 2015-16. The trust’s interim chief finance officer Richard Bates cost £265,000 for the same time period.

A spokesperson for East Surrey CC said it had conducted three rounds of recruitment in an attempt to find a permanent finance chief, the spokesman said. Although several hundred potential candidates were approached, “very few” chose to apply.

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan questioned the spending in an editorial earlier this year.