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Flintshire Council forks out over £230,000 on consultants

Published date: 16 July 2017 |
Published by: Owen Evans 
Read more articles by Owen Evans  Email reporter


 

MORE than £230,000 has been paid out by Flintshire Council on consultants.

Figures released by the local authority reveal that it commissioned at least £239,635 worth of work from consultants and payment of non-permanent posts in 2016/17.

The figures released only show consultancies earning the equivalant of more than £60,000 annually – so the actual amount spent is likely to be much higher.

The highest amount paid out to a company was £62,833 for what is listed as “specialist advice site remediation” at the former Euticals site in Sandycroft.

The figures were released as part of an annual report, produced following a notice of motion from councillors calling for greater transparency of the costs.

In a report, the council’s corporate finance manager Gary Ferguson said: “The notice of motion specifically requests information on the salaries of consultants and those in non-permanent posts.

“Figures have been taken from the general ledger on codes used for consultancy that are categorised on the basis of the ‘retained consultant’ and ‘project consultant’ definitions and of agency workers.

“These will be on an accruals rather than a cash basis, therefore relating to costs of services provided during the year, rather than amounts physically paid during the year.”

Last year serious concerns were raised about the level of spending on consultants at Flintshire Council after a damning internal report which said a lack of ‘key controls’ meant there could be a ‘high probability of loss, fraud, impropriety, waste, damage to reputation and/or failure to deliver objectives’ from spending on consultants.

The report stated that while a look at the general ledger of accounts showed a spend of £2.8 million in 2015/16 – misinterpretation and miscoding meant officers did not know exactly how much was spent – but it was likely to be a far smaller sum.

Following the report, a number of protocols were put into place to ensure the use of consultants was clearer, as well as more strictly controlled.

The report on the 2016/17 figures, released ahead of a meeting of the council’s Audit Committee next week, also shows spending on posts for people on temporary contracts earning more than the equivelant of £60,000 annually.

It shows that at least £259,194 was forked out to secure people on short term contracts.

The highest amount was provided to an ‘Integrated Transport Unit Manager’ who cost the council £73,273.

Mr Ferguson explained: “Where such arrangements are in place, the council has procured the services of individuals to fulfil the requirements of the post through a contract with another organisation.

“The council paid the organisation, and that organisation employed and paid a salary to the individual.”

For more news from across the region visit leaderlive.co.uk

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