£3.5 million paid to interim staff and consultants in Sheffield

March 10, 2011 10:30 AM

As councils look to make savings in their budgets, the use of consultants is one area they should look at first. It has come to my attention that Sheffield City Council is currently spending £3.5 million in this area. Although I accept some outside assistance will be needed on an ad hoc basis, £3.5 million is far too much, especially when you look at what it is being spent on.

In our non-job of the week feature last week, I highlighted how a borough council in London plans to pay an Interim Head of Parking Services £600 a day. It seems Sheffield Council is also willing to pay excessively high rates of pay.

The Sheffield Star last week revealed how the Interim Director of the Customer First Programme didn't put taxpayers first when they earned £131K for ten months work - the equivalent of £157K a year. The council's development agency quango, Create Sheffield, paid £116K to an interim chief executive for just nine months work - the equivalent of £154K a year.

The council also paid £80K to a PR firm for an environmental campaign, and £74K to a consultant to advise them on rebuilding secondary schools. Nice work if you can get it although, as usual, hard pressed taxpayers are the ones who have to foot the bill.

I know Sheffield is not an isolated example. There are too many councils who are willing to pay eye-watering pay packets to interim staff, PR firms and consultants while at the same time complaining that the government is cutting grant money paid to them. The leader of Sheffield City Council says he has already cut 30% off the consultants bill, and plans to reduce it by a further £1 million next year. This begs the question: if he can reduce spending by £1million next year, why hasn't he done so already? Sheffield Council must try harder.As councils look to make savings in their budgets, the use of consultants is one area they should look at first. It has come to my attention that Sheffield City Council is currently spending £3.5 million in this area. Although I accept some outside assistance will be needed on an ad hoc basis, £3.5 million is far too much, especially when you look at what it is being spent on.

In our non-job of the week feature last week, I highlighted how a borough council in London plans to pay an Interim Head of Parking Services £600 a day. It seems Sheffield Council is also willing to pay excessively high rates of pay.

The Sheffield Star last week revealed how the Interim Director of the Customer First Programme didn't put taxpayers first when they earned £131K for ten months work - the equivalent of £157K a year. The council's development agency quango, Create Sheffield, paid £116K to an interim chief executive for just nine months work - the equivalent of £154K a year.

The council also paid £80K to a PR firm for an environmental campaign, and £74K to a consultant to advise them on rebuilding secondary schools. Nice work if you can get it although, as usual, hard pressed taxpayers are the ones who have to foot the bill.

I know Sheffield is not an isolated example. There are too many councils who are willing to pay eye-watering pay packets to interim staff, PR firms and consultants while at the same time complaining that the government is cutting grant money paid to them. The leader of Sheffield City Council says he has already cut 30% off the consultants bill, and plans to reduce it by a further £1 million next year. This begs the question: if he can reduce spending by £1million next year, why hasn't he done so already? Sheffield Council must try harder.

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