Council runs up £7 million bill on consultants in two years

The SIC has spent nearly £7 million on consultants to carry out a variety of different tasks in the last two years, members will be told at Wednesday’s Full Council meeting.

Architects, services and structural engineers as well as civil and marine engineers and surveyors account for the bulk of the spending, which was £3,587,078 in 2007-08 and £3,398,484 in 2008-09.

The figures are contained in a report from assistant chief executive Willie Shannon, who has been charged with improving the way the authority’s capital programme is managed, in particular finding methods to prioritise projects as the amount of money available for spending is reduced from £20 million to £15 million in 2010/11.

Mr Shannon set up a finance working group with the chairs and vice-chairs of the council’s three main committees to investigate “planning, prioritisation and slippage”.

He said the spending on consultants was “clearly significant” although most of it was on large-scale projects such as the proposed new Anderson High School, now on hold while an independent review is carried out into where it should be sighted, Mareel and Mid Yell Junior High School.

Mr Shannon said he did not propose to suggest a return to the old design and technical services department which employed almost 100 staff. Those staff were still in the council, but spread across different departments. Rather, gaps would be identified to improve the way the council operates and delivers services.


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