Sheffield Council's £400k consultants bill

Sheffield City Council is back in the spotlight. I have already written about massive hikes in the cost of parking permits, the introduction of new green waste collection charges, and also the introduction of fortnightly bin collections. All of these measures have come about because the council needs more money - or so it says. So how does it spend some of the hard-earned cash council taxpayers are forced to hand over?

Well, in just one single month it managed to spend £411k on consultants. Over £80k on management consultants, £209k for IT consultants, and even £1,187 on two 'ergonomics' consultants to check whether working environments complied with health and safety guidance. 

The council's excuse for spending all this cash is it will save over £1 million in the coming year alone. How many times have we heard this before? Why does it need expensive consultants to slash the number of managers? We are constantly being told that councils have to pay inflated salaries to senior managers in order to recruit the best. A quick glance at our Town Hall Rich List will tell you the remuneration for the chief executive in 2010/11 was almost £218k. Does he not have the necessary skills?

If Sheffield City Council is serious about reducing costs,  it could stop the taxpayer funding of unions which costs over £631k a year.  Councillors even agreed to spend £400k on a communications campaign to ensure residents understand fortnightly bin collections. I can do that for them. It's simple - your bins no longer get emptied every week, despite the offer of a Government grant to protect this basic service. What else is there to communicate?

I've just identified over £1 million worth of savings without breaking sweat, and I didn't bill the council over £400k in consultancy fees to supply the information!

Savings are there to be made. Councils just need to look hard enough, and they can do it without racking up expensive consultants bills.

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