Outcry over council consultants payments

Consultants will be paid £75,000 a year to help council chiefs find millions of pounds of savings.

Brighton and Hove City Council must find £22.5 million of savings in 2014/15 as the Government spending squeeze continues.

But, despite its draft plan threatening to see care homes close, workers with disabilities made redundant and funding to community and sports groups reduced, the local authority has agreed to pay a five-figure sum to an external body.

Town hall bosses claim the amount will be recouped many times over as it tries to become more efficient.

But Conservative group leader Geoffrey Theobald asked “what is the point?”.

He added: “Councils up and down the country have been taking these sorts of decisions for several years yet here in Brighton and Hove, the Greens and Labour are too frightened to do anything for fear of upsetting the core left-wing vote that they both need to attract in order to win the 2015 local election.

“It is ordinary, hard-working council taxpayers who are suffering from this power struggle.”

His comments came after draft budget plans were discussed in public for the first time at a council policy and resources meeting on Thursday.

The cornerstone of the proposal from the minority Green administration is a 2% rise in council tax, the maximum allowed under a Government cap.

Other headlines include scrapping up to 150 posts, reducing care budgets for vulnerable children, cutting street sweeping and cleaning of public toilets and a budget black hole of £2.5 million.

Presenting the plans, Green councillor Leo Littman said he was confident it would be a “fair budget for tough times”.

He added: “It’s not perfect but we’ve still nearly three months to go before it needs to be.”

Coun Littman called on members of staff, businesses, voluntary groups, trade unions and opposition councillors to work with the Greens before plans are finalised.

Labour group leader Warren Morgan said: “It is clear that once again we have a disappointing and piecemeal approach to tackling the budget challenge, rather than a wholesale review of how we organise, protect and deliver essential services.

“The true extent of the cuts on Brighton and Hove is now clear.”

Green councillor Ian Davey said that the council would be £3.7 million better off if the Conservative and Labour groups had not united to vote down a planned 3.5% council tax rise in 2011/12.

A final decision will be taken by all 54 councillors on February 27.

Comments (15)

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11:12am Sun 8 Dec 13

Vigilia says...

Brighton and Hove City Council,

You can save the best part of £1,900 per day by abandoning the current policy of making the City a welcoming haven for all forms of squatters and travellers.

You may have that pro bono publico on me.
Brighton and Hove City Council, You can save the best part of £1,900 per day by abandoning the current policy of making the City a welcoming haven for all forms of squatters and travellers. You may have that pro bono publico on me. Vigilia

11:40am Sun 8 Dec 13

Maxwell's Ghost says...

In private industry department heads are asked to make the savings or they lose their jobs.
If a department head is unable to do this when they are earning £100,000 pa then they should go.
In private industry department heads are asked to make the savings or they lose their jobs. If a department head is unable to do this when they are earning £100,000 pa then they should go. Maxwell's Ghost

4:09pm Sun 8 Dec 13

s&k says...

Why don't you run an Indepth feature on all the Sussex councils use of consultants and their spend on this? Some serious FOI requests are needed!,
Why don't you run an Indepth feature on all the Sussex councils use of consultants and their spend on this? Some serious FOI requests are needed!, s&k

4:20pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Andy R says...

Can anyone explain to me what Theobald's comment has to do with issue of consultants?
Can anyone explain to me what Theobald's comment has to do with issue of consultants? Andy R

4:27pm Sun 8 Dec 13

PorkBoat says...

Dear BHCC. You can save money by not paying someone £75,000 to tell you how to save money. Many thanks. Please find enclosed and invoice for £50,000.
Dear BHCC. You can save money by not paying someone £75,000 to tell you how to save money. Many thanks. Please find enclosed and invoice for £50,000. PorkBoat

5:07pm Sun 8 Dec 13

NickBtn says...

Whenever I deal with the council I find many of its ways inefficient. There are many simple cost savings to be made and I'm sure that there are other hidden savings with a bit of digging too. For example postage. I have asked to deal by email and was told that they want to post items. This wastes both money and time

Fresh eyes should be able to find savings, although I agree with comments above that well paid senior managers should be able to find savings too.

A suggestion - pay the consultants partly by results. Halve their fee but add a bonus of x% for every pound saved
Whenever I deal with the council I find many of its ways inefficient. There are many simple cost savings to be made and I'm sure that there are other hidden savings with a bit of digging too. For example postage. I have asked to deal by email and was told that they want to post items. This wastes both money and time Fresh eyes should be able to find savings, although I agree with comments above that well paid senior managers should be able to find savings too. A suggestion - pay the consultants partly by results. Halve their fee but add a bonus of x% for every pound saved NickBtn

5:21pm Sun 8 Dec 13

adursteve@gmail.com says...

Ever wondered who is behind some of these so called consultancy businesses ?
Ever wondered who is behind some of these so called consultancy businesses ? adursteve@gmail.com

8:39pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Quiterie says...

Andy R wrote:
Can anyone explain to me what Theobald's comment has to do with issue of consultants?
I think what Theobald means is that given this Council and other Councils have a number of people on 6 figure salaries they should be able to work out themselves the best place to make these cuts. Especially as they're the closest to how their depts spend their money. There should therefore be no need to waste money on consultants who have less knowledge than these dept heads.

Good question though. Glad I was able to help you out. If you're confused about anything else please let me know.
[quote][p][bold]Andy R[/bold] wrote: Can anyone explain to me what Theobald's comment has to do with issue of consultants?[/p][/quote]I think what Theobald means is that given this Council and other Councils have a number of people on 6 figure salaries they should be able to work out themselves the best place to make these cuts. Especially as they're the closest to how their depts spend their money. There should therefore be no need to waste money on consultants who have less knowledge than these dept heads. Good question though. Glad I was able to help you out. If you're confused about anything else please let me know. Quiterie

9:11pm Sun 8 Dec 13

oooohhhhh says...

Err what's the problem?! £75K for £1Ms of savings is a no brainer?! If I had to pay somebody £75 to save me £1000 I'd be happy!

This is a crazy non-story.

And no I didnt' vote Green, I don't work for the Council and I'm not the consultant either.

But one thing I do know is that if I could save £Ms of pounds I'd charge more than £75K.
Err what's the problem?! £75K for £1Ms of savings is a no brainer?! If I had to pay somebody £75 to save me £1000 I'd be happy! This is a crazy non-story. And no I didnt' vote Green, I don't work for the Council and I'm not the consultant either. But one thing I do know is that if I could save £Ms of pounds I'd charge more than £75K. oooohhhhh

9:12pm Sun 8 Dec 13

oooohhhhh says...

I'd happily pay somebody £75K to save £1M

This article is a joke

And I don't work for the Council or the Consultant etc
I'd happily pay somebody £75K to save £1M This article is a joke And I don't work for the Council or the Consultant etc oooohhhhh

10:40pm Sun 8 Dec 13

ourcoalition says...

My consultant says "Get rid of this Government, never forgive the Liberal Democrat Tories, and take a one-off tax from the richest 1% in this country".

I think my consultant deserves to be Prime Minister in 2015. And get £75,000.
My consultant says "Get rid of this Government, never forgive the Liberal Democrat Tories, and take a one-off tax from the richest 1% in this country". I think my consultant deserves to be Prime Minister in 2015. And get £75,000. ourcoalition

6:58am Mon 9 Dec 13

Quiterie says...

oooohhhhh wrote:
Err what's the problem?! £75K for £1Ms of savings is a no brainer?! If I had to pay somebody £75 to save me £1000 I'd be happy!

This is a crazy non-story.

And no I didnt' vote Green, I don't work for the Council and I'm not the consultant either.

But one thing I do know is that if I could save £Ms of pounds I'd charge more than £75K.
But the point is do we really need consultants to tell us this?

And can they really do a better job than dept heads in the Council who are paid not much short of what the Prime Minister earns?

If the answer to that second question is yes, then the wrong people are in those jobs.
[quote][p][bold]oooohhhhh[/bold] wrote: Err what's the problem?! £75K for £1Ms of savings is a no brainer?! If I had to pay somebody £75 to save me £1000 I'd be happy! This is a crazy non-story. And no I didnt' vote Green, I don't work for the Council and I'm not the consultant either. But one thing I do know is that if I could save £Ms of pounds I'd charge more than £75K.[/p][/quote]But the point is do we really need consultants to tell us this? And can they really do a better job than dept heads in the Council who are paid not much short of what the Prime Minister earns? If the answer to that second question is yes, then the wrong people are in those jobs. Quiterie

3:01pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Ashles says...

Maxwell's Ghost wrote:
In private industry department heads are asked to make the savings or they lose their jobs. If a department head is unable to do this when they are earning £100,000 pa then they should go.
This.
[quote][p][bold]Maxwell's Ghost[/bold] wrote: In private industry department heads are asked to make the savings or they lose their jobs. If a department head is unable to do this when they are earning £100,000 pa then they should go.[/p][/quote]This. Ashles

7:41pm Mon 9 Dec 13

jimpy762 says...

Andy R wrote:
Can anyone explain to me what Theobald's comment has to do with issue of consultants?
Yes quite easily. He's objecting to the continued expansion of the wasteful public sector gravy train and its subsequent left wing client state.
The less people there are drawing overblown taxpayer funded salaries for doing very little and moaning a lot about how difficult it all is will save money and reduce the amount of self centred idealogical halfwits inclined to vote towards the left in order to keep the gravy train stopping outside their house.
Small state, low tax. Really simple.
[quote][p][bold]Andy R[/bold] wrote: Can anyone explain to me what Theobald's comment has to do with issue of consultants?[/p][/quote]Yes quite easily. He's objecting to the continued expansion of the wasteful public sector gravy train and its subsequent left wing client state. The less people there are drawing overblown taxpayer funded salaries for doing very little and moaning a lot about how difficult it all is will save money and reduce the amount of self centred idealogical halfwits inclined to vote towards the left in order to keep the gravy train stopping outside their house. Small state, low tax. Really simple. jimpy762

9:56pm Mon 9 Dec 13

ourcoalition says...

Could someone ask Geoffrey how much the Conservative Administration spent on consultants - believe it might have been in the region of £200,000 pa.

Never let the truth get in the way of a chance to get in the media........
Could someone ask Geoffrey how much the Conservative Administration spent on consultants - believe it might have been in the region of £200,000 pa. Never let the truth get in the way of a chance to get in the media........ ourcoalition

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