High cost of consultants ‘is excessive’

Amongst other things £235 was spent on a water vole survey (pictured)
Amongst other things £235 was spent on a water vole survey (pictured)

SCARBOROUGH Council has been criticised for the amount of public money it spends on external consultants.

Yesterday the Evening News revealed that in little over two-and-a-half years, almost £5 million of taxpayers’ money was paid to various consultants and consultancy firms.

Between April and November last year, £2.013m was paid out - the figure equates to £8,250 a day, £343 an hour or £5.70 every minute.

Emma Boon, of the national grassroots campaign group The Taxpayers’ Alliance, said yesterday that she was shocked by the levels of spending.

She added: “There will be some situations, like large and expensive infrastructure projects, where the use of a consultant would be prudent.

“However, there has been a worrying increase in the number of consultants being hired across the public sector in recent years. The costs are now startling.

“Many of these are management consultants, meaning taxpayers are paying for council staff then paying again for consultants to come and tell them how to do their job.

“Scarborough is not the only culprit and the use of management consultants in the public sector needs to be urgently curbed.

“Scarborough residents cannot afford to pay for someone else to do the work they already pay taxes to the council to do.”

In 2010, Scarborough Council paid...

- Wold Ecology £235 for a Water Vole survey.

- Engineering specialists BWB Consulting £42,400 for ground and site investigations on their Dean Road depot and old gas depot.

- Coastal specialists Maddrell Consultancy Limited £21,800 for expenses and services.

- £13,900 to consulting and business services group Mouchel Limited for three days of 'professional services'. The firm was paid more than £115,000 over the seven month period, including £300 for work regarding the Oasis Cafe, and £504 for ‘wet weather monitoring’.

- Planners Ward Associates (Consulting) Limited £18,700, which included £1,600 in expenses and mileage.

- Environments for People £5,550 for work on the Open Air Theatre, including £587 for pond plants.

In the 2009/10 financial year, some of the council’s creditors included...

- Ian Routledge Consultancy, which was paid £1,800. The figure included £840 for traffic signals support.

- Martin Tonks, who got £2,170, including £570 for his advice on retail provision in Eastfield.

- Northgate Information Solutions, which received £20,000 for project management.

- Chesterfield-based Public Sector Consultants, which charged £44,550 in fees.

- Stewart Hurst, who got more than £12,800 for his advice on traffic and highways.

- Mouchel Limited, which got £225,000 for coastal work including projects in Filey Ravine and Robin Hood's Bay.

In 2008/09, the council paid...

- Northgate Information Solution £2,000 for two days of consultancy.

- Waste Management specialists Gordon Mackie Associates £11,400.

- The Hub Consulting Ltd £375 for a marble plaque.

- More than £1,500 to HR Business Solutions, which charged £90 per hour for their services.