Consultants used to spearhead Birmingham City Council’s massive efficiency drive are being paid the equivalent of half-a-million pounds per year.
The consultants, who are paid wages of up to £2,000 per day, have been brought in to advise on the business transformation programme – designed to save the council taxpayer £1 billion over the next 10 years.
Now the council’s finance watchdog committee has warned the architects of business transformation to stop wasting cash and use in-house expertise.
The cost of consultants, compared to the council’s own senior staff, has caused alarm among finance sub-committee members.
Corporate finance officer Steve Morey said consultants cost from £300 per day for technical advisors, to £2,000 per day for senior partners. He added that the majority were below average when compared to other local authority consultants.
Coun Len Clarke (Con Quinton) said: “We have able senior officers on £80,000 per year, so why are we employing people at seven fold the cost to do it for us? The difference is massive.”
Mr Morey said: “If there is capacity and skills to run parts of business transformation in-house then we probably do. But there are occasions when we need external help.”
Labour group deputy leader Coun Ian Ward said the decision to employ consultants suggested the council’s senior officers were not capable of managing change. He also claimed council staff had been overwhelmed by the amount of jargon used by the consultants.
The business transformation programme was launched last year to root out duplication of duties, cut waste and deliver efficiency savings.
Corporate director Glyn Evans said: “Additional resources such as consultants are essential to help achieve this radical transformation – one of the largest programmes of its type undertaken anywhere – because the council’s dedicated and skilled workforce does not have the capacity nor contain all of the expertise that is required.”