Councillor accused of 'ranting' as parties clash over spending on consultants

Councillor accused of 'ranting' as parties clash over spending on consultants

Councillor accused of 'ranting' as parties clash over spending on consultants

First published in News Bromsgrove Advertiser: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

CONSULTANTS have been accused of "milking the country dry" by a leading Worcestershire politician - who says he wants council spending on outside experts culled.

Your Worcester News can reveal how Councillor Peter McDonald, leader of the opposition Labour group at the county council, has attacked the leadership for "overseeing massive staff cuts" while money is handed to external workers.

But his criticism has been rejected by the Conservative cabinet, which claim he is "having a rant" and say he is harming staff morale by being so negative.

As your Worcester News revealed last week, the bill for consultants smashed through the £1 million barrier at County Hall in 2013/14, the third time in five years it has topped a seven-figure sum.

It included £168,000 on IT experts, £18,060 on asking a private firm to look into how Worcestershire can dispose of its household rubbish, and £259,000 on getting advice on a blueprint aimed at saving money, known as Future Fit.

Cllr McDonald said: "I have no idea how this council can claim to be 'Future Fit' when it spent over £1 million on consultants last year.

"How can we really be ready for the future when consultants are milking this county dry?"

He said the spending was bad timing as it has come at a time of staffing cuts, with 1,500 in-house jobs due to be axed within four years.

The leadership is banking on many of the staff transferring to new employers, minimising some of the impact on the economy by handing over 85 per cent of services to new providers.

The attack has been refuted by Councillor John Campion, who sits in the Tory cabinet in charge of the workforce and said his rival was "ranting".

He said: "We employ thousands of people, spend hundreds of millions of pounds and as a result of that we will never do absolutely everything in-house.

"One thing he doesn't seem to understand is that as the organisation changes, we need to take proper advice as we go along and by doing so, I am confident our decisions will stand the test of time.

"It's something that should be celebrated, rather than have this constant chipping away at the officers."

Comments (5)

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4:51pm Mon 21 Jul 14

skychip says...

There does need to be a reduction in what is being paid out for Consultants. Trouble is the County Council have made quite a lot of people redundant so hence less people to manage the projects etc.
There does need to be a reduction in what is being paid out for Consultants. Trouble is the County Council have made quite a lot of people redundant so hence less people to manage the projects etc. skychip
  • Score: 5

5:25pm Mon 21 Jul 14

jankersjoe says...

Cllr McDonald has a point.Politicians are all too ready to chuck public cash at consultants for doing a job senior council staff on very good money are paid to do.
Cllr McDonald has a point.Politicians are all too ready to chuck public cash at consultants for doing a job senior council staff on very good money are paid to do. jankersjoe
  • Score: 6

5:47pm Mon 21 Jul 14

CJH says...

He's not being negative - he's being realistic! A state very few of our councillors ever find themselves in!
He's not being negative - he's being realistic! A state very few of our councillors ever find themselves in! CJH
  • Score: 5

10:12pm Mon 21 Jul 14

New Kid on the Block says...

Used properly consultants will save money.
When you need specialist knowledge you employ a consultant for a limited period rather than having a specialist permanently on the payroll when you only need their knowledge occasionally.
But excessive use of consultants is a waste of money.
Used properly consultants will save money. When you need specialist knowledge you employ a consultant for a limited period rather than having a specialist permanently on the payroll when you only need their knowledge occasionally. But excessive use of consultants is a waste of money. New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Wed 23 Jul 14

paulchandbrush says...

This shows neither the Councillors nor the Managers they employ know anything about running a business they just like spending other peoples money. They do not care what those whom elected them want or need just their own egos.
This shows neither the Councillors nor the Managers they employ know anything about running a business they just like spending other peoples money. They do not care what those whom elected them want or need just their own egos. paulchandbrush
  • Score: 1

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