WALTHAM FOREST: Consultant spending tops £4million

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: WALTHAM FOREST: Consultant spending tops £4million WALTHAM FOREST: Consultant spending tops £4million

WALTHAM Forest Council spent an estimated £4million on consultants during the last financial year, new figures have revealed.

According to freedom of information website Whatdotheyknow.com, the figures appear to show a rise of £1million from the previous year, when just under £3million was spent - although the council says this is because of changes in the way consultancy spending was recorded.

It has also been revealed that some of these temporary workers were paid more than £1,000 a day.

The department which spent the most on consultants was children's services, which splashed out just over £1.5million in 2009/10.

The year before £410,000 was spent.

Environment and regeneration was the next highest department, spending £953,000 last year, a slight drop from £967,000 the year before.

The data, which is based on estimates by the council, refers to staff employed at management levels, not temporary frontline staff.

Council leader Chris Robbins has previously said he wanted to cut the number of consultants working for the authority to save money.

The council's cabinet member for corporate resources, business and employment, Cllr Afzal Akram, said: "The figures in question are virtually the same, however there was a discrepancy in the way the figures were recorded in 2008/09.

"For 2008/09 the spend on consultants was £4,107 million and in 2009/10 the spend was £4,115 million. The reason your 2008/09 figure shows £3 million is because, in 2008/09, £1.119 million of expenditure on consultants for the schools capital programmes was transferred to a different budget while in 2009/10 this was not the case.

"We are doing all we can to reduce expenditure on consultants in this borough, but in some circumstances it is a cost effective and efficient way of delivering services to employ temporary staff with specific areas of expertise."

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11:25am Tue 10 Aug 10

Augustus says...

As I queried recently, how much did the Locum report into the EMD cost and when will it be available on the council website?
As I queried recently, how much did the Locum report into the EMD cost and when will it be available on the council website? Augustus

5:53pm Tue 10 Aug 10

fabster says...

You say 'Consultants', we say 'Councillors' Chums'...

It's no secret our dear senior cabinet members, in the past & the present, continue to flout proper procedures for tendering contracts with transparent neutrality.

Was there not a case of a Councillor who gave a contract to a certain Regeneration Expert Consultancy (who already had several other contracts prior from WF), then promptly left his Councillor role and joined said Consultancy?

Was there also not a case of a certain departed CEO who held an investigation into the Council's operating procedures, found out a host of indiscretions, impropriety, corruption & missing funds... Then was paid a handsome fee to leave quietly, lest those contract arrangements were put in jeopardy if all was to come out of the bag?

Cllr Afzal Akram's rationale for 'transferring the budget' to some other department in 2008/9 merely reflects the moronic mentality of the Council.. whichever department the money was allocated to or transfered to.. it was still spent on 'Consultants'!

Meanwhile new schools are now not going ahead, our historic cinema is rotting to the ground, the dogtrack has gone to the dogs and a certain library remains shut (whilst secret talks are held behind closed doors to 'dispose' of empty buildings quietly behind resident's backs!)

Don't bother asking any of the High Street Councillors regarding the above matter. They seem to be colluding in silence.

Thank goodness for the freedom of information act is all I can say. Without it, half of what the cabinet gets up to would vanish into a black hole.
You say 'Consultants', we say 'Councillors' Chums'... It's no secret our dear senior cabinet members, in the past & the present, continue to flout proper procedures for tendering contracts with transparent neutrality. Was there not a case of a Councillor who gave a contract to a certain Regeneration Expert Consultancy (who already had several other contracts prior from WF), then promptly left his Councillor role and joined said Consultancy? Was there also not a case of a certain departed CEO who held an investigation into the Council's operating procedures, found out a host of indiscretions, impropriety, corruption & missing funds... Then was paid a handsome fee to leave quietly, lest those contract arrangements were put in jeopardy if all was to come out of the bag? Cllr Afzal Akram's rationale for 'transferring the budget' to some other department in 2008/9 merely reflects the moronic mentality of the Council.. whichever department the money was allocated to or transfered to.. it was still spent on 'Consultants'! Meanwhile new schools are now not going ahead, our historic cinema is rotting to the ground, the dogtrack has gone to the dogs and a certain library remains shut (whilst secret talks are held behind closed doors to 'dispose' of empty buildings quietly behind resident's backs!) Don't bother asking any of the High Street Councillors regarding the above matter. They seem to be colluding in silence. Thank goodness for the freedom of information act is all I can say. Without it, half of what the cabinet gets up to would vanish into a black hole. fabster

6:00pm Tue 10 Aug 10

Techno2 says...

"They seem to be colluding in silence."

They have the right to remain silent, lest anything they do say is taken down and used in evidence.
"They seem to be colluding in silence." They have the right to remain silent, lest anything they do say is taken down and used in evidence. Techno2

9:55pm Tue 10 Aug 10

DADRA says...

But new schools are being built. Yardley Children Centre, at a cost of around £1m is just started to be constructed. Seems that the money is there for that..
But new schools are being built. Yardley Children Centre, at a cost of around £1m is just started to be constructed. Seems that the money is there for that.. DADRA

10:55pm Tue 10 Aug 10

EducateCommunities says...

We don't need Sherlock Holmes to work out that Council leader Chris Robbins and MP Stella Creasy are ringleaders in the missing funds scheme.

After all they dictate who gets what were and when they are both Labour both pushed through ConDem cuts with no fuss.

Both climbed the council ranks and are in the top positions which means they know full well what has being going on for the past few years.

Every other councilor has to tow the line other wise they get frozen out unless they are the opposition then it does not matter anyway.

Our only hope is if the new multi millionaire ConDem .Gov crack down on them the same time they exterminate benefit claimers.

Don't know who is the greater EVIL they are all buzz words and two faced only interested in rip off the public and building nest eggs.
We don't need Sherlock Holmes to work out that Council leader Chris Robbins and MP Stella Creasy are ringleaders in the missing funds scheme. After all they dictate who gets what were and when they are both Labour both pushed through ConDem cuts with no fuss. Both climbed the council ranks and are in the top positions which means they know full well what has being going on for the past few years. Every other councilor has to tow the line other wise they get frozen out unless they are the opposition then it does not matter anyway. Our only hope is if the new multi millionaire ConDem .Gov crack down on them the same time they exterminate benefit claimers. Don't know who is the greater EVIL they are all buzz words and two faced only interested in rip off the public and building nest eggs. EducateCommunities

9:33am Wed 11 Aug 10

Helen, Walthamstow says...

EducateCommunities wrote:
We don't need Sherlock Holmes to work out that Council leader Chris Robbins and MP Stella Creasy are ringleaders in the missing funds scheme. After all they dictate who gets what were and when they are both Labour both pushed through ConDem cuts with no fuss. Both climbed the council ranks and are in the top positions which means they know full well what has being going on for the past few years. Every other councilor has to tow the line other wise they get frozen out unless they are the opposition then it does not matter anyway. Our only hope is if the new multi millionaire ConDem .Gov crack down on them the same time they exterminate benefit claimers. Don't know who is the greater EVIL they are all buzz words and two faced only interested in rip off the public and building nest eggs.
I can just about see where you are coming from where Cllr Robbins is concerned, but not where Stella Creasy comes into this.

Far from climbing the council ranks, she was deselected in her ward by her own party members four years ago and has not been a councillor since then. In addition, I don't think she was ever involved in the NRF funding management.

Can you explain just what you mean?
[quote][p][bold]EducateCommunities[/bold] wrote: We don't need Sherlock Holmes to work out that Council leader Chris Robbins and MP Stella Creasy are ringleaders in the missing funds scheme. After all they dictate who gets what were and when they are both Labour both pushed through ConDem cuts with no fuss. Both climbed the council ranks and are in the top positions which means they know full well what has being going on for the past few years. Every other councilor has to tow the line other wise they get frozen out unless they are the opposition then it does not matter anyway. Our only hope is if the new multi millionaire ConDem .Gov crack down on them the same time they exterminate benefit claimers. Don't know who is the greater EVIL they are all buzz words and two faced only interested in rip off the public and building nest eggs.[/p][/quote]I can just about see where you are coming from where Cllr Robbins is concerned, but not where Stella Creasy comes into this. Far from climbing the council ranks, she was deselected in her ward by her own party members four years ago and has not been a councillor since then. In addition, I don't think she was ever involved in the NRF funding management. Can you explain just what you mean? Helen, Walthamstow

1:01pm Thu 12 Aug 10

md-j says...

'some of these temporary workers were paid more than £1,000 a day. ..'
Compare with the c.£1000 an hour that a few lucky Councillors get for the undemanding task of chairing part of a Community Council meeting four times a year. The Community Chairs, who do much more of the business, are unpaid public-spirited members of the public.
Is any Councillor willing to justify the difference?
'some of these temporary workers were paid more than £1,000 a day. ..' Compare with the c.£1000 an hour that a few lucky Councillors get for the undemanding task of chairing part of a Community Council meeting four times a year. The Community Chairs, who do much more of the business, are unpaid public-spirited members of the public. Is any Councillor willing to justify the difference? md-j

3:53pm Sat 14 Aug 10

EducateCommunities says...

Dear Helen,

If you can just about see what I am getting at in regards to Cllr Robbins who is mixed up in the EduAction secret report that has just been released, only because MP Ian Duncan-Smith had to get involved and demand the report be published.

Then surely it stands to reason that MP Creasy must of been aware of certain issues that involve funds through out the councils dealings. After all she has steadily reached the top rung via councilor, mayor now MP.

This is not just coincidence moving in them circles you have to have a fair idea of what's going on or is it just another expenses scandal.

Does this make things a little bit clearer for you, even with the smoke screen I can see because I went to spec savers.
Dear Helen, If you can just about see what I am getting at in regards to Cllr Robbins who is mixed up in the EduAction secret report that has just been released, only because MP Ian Duncan-Smith had to get involved and demand the report be published. Then surely it stands to reason that MP Creasy must of been aware of certain issues that involve funds through out the councils dealings. After all she has steadily reached the top rung via councilor, mayor now MP. This is not just coincidence moving in them circles you have to have a fair idea of what's going on or is it just another expenses scandal. Does this make things a little bit clearer for you, even with the smoke screen I can see because I went to spec savers. EducateCommunities

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