Wrexham council consultants fees add up to £2m

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

WREXHAM Council spent almost £2 million on consultants in two years, it has emerged.

A Freedom of Information Request found the council employed 102 consultants in 20090-10 at a cost of £1,472,374 and in 2008-09 a total of £535,719 was spent employing the services of 62 consultants.

Of the total cost in 2009-10 £519,423 was funded by specific external grants and in 2008-09 £62,748 was funded by external grants.

The costs for the 2010-11 financial year are currently being finalised, but council chiefs predict there will be a reduction in consultancy spend of about £400,000 since last year.

Despite a total workforce of about 6,000, which includes school-based staff, council chiefs have justified the expenditure.

Phil Walton, acting chief executive, said: “Wrexham Council is a large diverse organisation with a gross expenditure of nearly £350m. There are certain specialist areas of expertise that it is best to buy in.

“This provides better value for money to taxpayers.

“The level of spend on consultants tends to vary according to the size of the council’s capital building programme and a significant proportion is paid for by external grants supporting these projects.”

Consultants were drafted in in 2009-10 for various projects, including replacing cremators at Wrexham Crematorium, a review of transport efficiency and design of a gas extraction system at Llanypwll Landfill Site.

Consultants were also called upon for architectural and surveyor work associated with a number of major school building projects at Darland, Bryn Alyn, Penley and Rhosymedre, as well as preparation works for the Wrexham Industrial Estate Link Road.

Mr Walton added: “The council has systems in place to challenge the use of consultants and is open and transparent in disclosing these details. Extra costs and fees are only incurred where necessary.”

l WREXHAM council spends less on consultants than neighbouring Flintshire.
Flintshire Council came under fire earlier this year when £1.25m was spent on consultants in six months in 2010.

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