Despite increasing their middle-management spend by over £11million in just one year (alongside the raft of six-figure salary directors on their payroll) it was revealed today that Birmingham City Council will spend no less than £67m on consultants and advisors this year.
An article in today’s Birmingham Post reveals this shocking figure, as the council vow to clamp down on outside help.
Perhaps more worrying than the willingness of the authority to lay out these huge sums is that it appears that some of these external consultants are actually getting preferential treatment, while taxpayers continue to fund the council salaries of staff who are perfectly suitable for the job. The article states:
“And behind the scenes several officials have said they have been annoyed to see themselves bypassed in favour of expensive management consultants, who then adapt work and reports already done by civil servants on the city’s payroll”.
It appears that residents and taxpayers are being ripped-off left, right and centre here…
As usual, council spokesmen are using the size of the authority, and the size of it’s budget to deflect criticism, claiming that £67m in an annual budget of £3bn is ‘a drop in the ocean’. It seems that they’re still unable to recognise that mismanagement and waste is still mismanagement and waste, whether it refers to £100 or £100million. It’s all taxpayers’ money and it should be spent properly with good justification.
Coun Ward (Shard End) clearly sees an opportunity to save cash in these tough economic times:
“They seem to say if it’s a big project let’s employ consultants to deliver it. Don’t we have these expertises within the council?
There are people on large six-figure salaries within the council and if they are not good enough then we have to ask are we employing the right people?
If someone is needed to develop a new school building and there is no-one in the education department they may find that person in economic development”.
It’s common sense, so let’s hope Birmingham City Council mean it when they say they’re going to crack down. If they continue to spend huge amounts on consultants whilst their children’s social care services are coming into serious questioning after 15 deaths, they will surely lose the faith of their electorate.