The ArgusConsultants’ parking blunder (From The Argus)

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Consultants’ parking blunder

Blundering consultants advised a council to hike parking charges illegally.

The error was only discovered after The Argus raised queries about the £27,000 report produced by auditors Deloitte for West Sussex County Council.

Consultants suggested the council could net up to an extra £1 million a year by introducing parking charges at weekends and evenings in car parks.

However, councils are forbidden by the Traffic Management Act to set on-street parking charges to generate extra income, with money raised from charges ring-fenced for traffic policies.

West Sussex County Council also only has responsibility for on-street parking, with the power to increase charges in car parks residing with district and borough councils.

The proposals were due to be discussed by a council committee today but the council announced prior to the meeting they would not be taking up the suggestion in the report after being contacted by The Argus.

Committee member and Liberal Democrat councillor Dr James Walsh said the report was part of a worrying trend to rely on outside consultants at every opportunity.

'Legal powers'

He said: “I don’t think this report is value for money. You would expect the council to know what legal powers it has to raise revenue without asking outside consultants.”

The council commissioned the firm to look into where extra revenue could be generated after a report placed the authority in the lowest 5% of councils for income raised through fees and charges.

The report suggested the council could increase the £94 million per year it raises in fees and charges after identifying opportunities to increase fees for transport and adult services.

A county council spokesman said it would not be taking the suggestion forward because it related to off street car parks which are generally the responsibility of district and borough councils.

He added: “These are not proposals until a detailed assessment has been carried out by the professional officers for consideration by the responsible cabinet member.”

A Deloitte spokesman said: “This was just one of a range of potential options put forward for the council to consider.”

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Comments (8)

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12:04pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Bob_The_Ferret says...

I wonder if some appropriately targeted Freedom of Information requests could reveal if Brighton & Hove City Council have been similarly advised?
I wonder if some appropriately targeted Freedom of Information requests could reveal if Brighton & Hove City Council have been similarly advised? Bob_The_Ferret
  • Score: 0

12:28pm Fri 7 Dec 12

getThisCoalitionOut says...

How much were these consultants paid? Are they refunding their fees to the council as they gave incorrect advice which would have resulted in the council acting illegally?
How much were these consultants paid? Are they refunding their fees to the council as they gave incorrect advice which would have resulted in the council acting illegally? getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 0

12:37pm Fri 7 Dec 12

derekhunt says...

This is what happens when you allow the lovely caring sharing private sector to get involved in public matters.
This is what happens when you allow the lovely caring sharing private sector to get involved in public matters. derekhunt
  • Score: 0

1:37pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Fairfax Sakes says...

getThisCoalitionOut wrote:
How much were these consultants paid? Are they refunding their fees to the council as they gave incorrect advice which would have resulted in the council acting illegally?
Consultants get paid on average £100-125k per year on an annualised basis-I work for a consultanc firm on a contract basis and can assert that they DO provide good value if used correctly.
[quote][p][bold]getThisCoalitionOut[/bold] wrote: How much were these consultants paid? Are they refunding their fees to the council as they gave incorrect advice which would have resulted in the council acting illegally?[/p][/quote]Consultants get paid on average £100-125k per year on an annualised basis-I work for a consultanc firm on a contract basis and can assert that they DO provide good value if used correctly. Fairfax Sakes
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Fri 7 Dec 12

bogs says...

Fairfax Sakes wrote:
getThisCoalitionOut wrote: How much were these consultants paid? Are they refunding their fees to the council as they gave incorrect advice which would have resulted in the council acting illegally?
Consultants get paid on average £100-125k per year on an annualised basis-I work for a consultanc firm on a contract basis and can assert that they DO provide good value if used correctly.
So for £100-£125k a year, you get to talk bo**ocks and don't need to be able to spell either.
Now we know why consultants are such a waste of money!
[quote][p][bold]Fairfax Sakes[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]getThisCoalitionOut[/bold] wrote: How much were these consultants paid? Are they refunding their fees to the council as they gave incorrect advice which would have resulted in the council acting illegally?[/p][/quote]Consultants get paid on average £100-125k per year on an annualised basis-I work for a consultanc firm on a contract basis and can assert that they DO provide good value if used correctly.[/p][/quote]So for £100-£125k a year, you get to talk bo**ocks and don't need to be able to spell either. Now we know why consultants are such a waste of money! bogs
  • Score: 0

4:58pm Fri 7 Dec 12

peterthomas says...

What drivel - we pay for overpaid chest pumping consultants to tell people we already pay what to do - delightful - little wonder that we are on our knees. Employ the correct people in the first place and you rid us of the consultancy revenue bleed! If the consultancy industry is so proficient why is our country in the condition that it - without question - is!!
What drivel - we pay for overpaid chest pumping consultants to tell people we already pay what to do - delightful - little wonder that we are on our knees. Employ the correct people in the first place and you rid us of the consultancy revenue bleed! If the consultancy industry is so proficient why is our country in the condition that it - without question - is!! peterthomas
  • Score: 0

4:59pm Fri 7 Dec 12

peterthomas says...

Secondly I would like my money back - Mr KitKat???
Secondly I would like my money back - Mr KitKat??? peterthomas
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

Now is the time for The Argus to be a good local newspaper and look at the B&H situation as part of its Park the Charges campaign.
We have been pied to about every other project in the city recently, including the incorrect press release about the Lewes Road scheme which was withdrawn by the council just days before the FoI request lead to the publication of the officers' report which actually showed the scheme's real value, which was less than one per cent of traffic will be removed from the roads with other traffic being diverted onto the residential roads.
There's nothing worse than a council lacking honest and transparency no matter what its colour.
Now is the time for The Argus to be a good local newspaper and look at the B&H situation as part of its Park the Charges campaign. We have been pied to about every other project in the city recently, including the incorrect press release about the Lewes Road scheme which was withdrawn by the council just days before the FoI request lead to the publication of the officers' report which actually showed the scheme's real value, which was less than one per cent of traffic will be removed from the roads with other traffic being diverted onto the residential roads. There's nothing worse than a council lacking honest and transparency no matter what its colour. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

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