Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting RA NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Why is council's bill for consultants rocketing?
7:00am Tuesday 2nd October 2012 in News
THE amount the county council spends on outside consultants has rocketed in just one year – despite widespread job cuts across the public sector.
At Worcestershire County Council it has leapt £360,000.
Critics have labelled the spending “outrageous” and want more staff to be doing more work in-house.
Councillor Peter McDonald, the leader of County Hall’s Labour group, said: “We are cutting jobs everywhere but spending outrageous fees on this.
“It’s disgraceful – anybody can pick up a phone and get a consultant to do something for them.
“We pay a lot of people high salaries to deliver on behalf of taxpayers. It beggars belief.”
County Hall’s rise included £50,000 on economic development, £66,000 on concessionary bus fares and £79,000 on commissioning services.
IT advice, the Worcestershire Hub, a staff handbook and adoption inspections were just some of the other areas outside consultants were asked to help on.
Just over £10,000 was spent on getting consultants to ring 1,400 county firms to ask them what they thought the barriers to economic growth were.
The council has shed more than 1,700 jobs since 2010, with bosses trying to make £90 million in savings by 2015.
Council leader Adrian Hardman said: “We are hiring specialists to do very specific pieces of work, often because we no longer retain the right skills in-house.
“It’s not as simple as just getting a management consultant to do something – we are talking about very specialised projects.”
County councillor for Redditch David Thain, cabinet member for the workforce, said: “Six or seven years ago it was actually higher than it is now – we are a transformational council, and we’ve got to manage that change.”