|H & F Council "Wasted Millions" on Unorthodox Consultancies|
Audit reveals consultants had no contracts and no judge of performance
Hammersmith and Fulham Council has been criticised for "wasting up to £12 million" on consultants who had no formal contract and no criteria judging their performance.
The BBC's Politics Show reported on Sunday that an audit by accountancy firm Deloitte looked at the arrangements around consultants employed by Conservative run council and found that only one of seven consultants had a formal agreement.
The report also revealed that there was no evidence of any formal, document selection and recruitment process;
No evidence of any formal performance monitoring;
No complete list of all the consulting companies used by the council.
The report also looked at H & F Homes and found an agreement had been made with a dissolved company and one formal employee had charged over £21,000 for 25 days' consultancy work.
The council says it has accepted and acted on all the recommendations in the audit. Says Councillor Greg Smith: "Clearly what this Deloitte report showed is that there were some things that we needed to do differently and do better and we have done every single one of them."
The council's Labour Group of Councillors however are not satisfied. Leader Stephen Cowan says on his blog The Cowan Report that the examination of these consultancies was the result of the group's own two year investigation, and that according to their estimates, H&F Council has wasted between £5m to £12m by commissioning consultants for work that was thoroughly unnecessary.
He says: " The investigation showed that while the Conservatives argued they were cutting the number of staff they employed, they were actually hiring many of them back on inflated private service company contracts which were hidden from public scrutiny. This meant:
" If they don't do that and we discover further problems, then the Opposition will be calling for some high profile resignations."
October 24, 2011