Sunday, 17 November 2013

Plaid Cymru concern at increase in consultants’ costs at Wrexham Council

Plaid Cymru Press Release.

Plaid Cymru councillors in Wrexham have raised concerns at the increased spending on external consultants and legal advice by the local council.

Wrexham Council has published details of how much they spent on Consultants and on external legal advice. The details in an Information Report to members show that spending on Consultants and External Legal Advice has increase by 66% on the previous year from £1.14 million to £1.9 million.

The rise in net costs was even higher – consultants’ costs went from £478,000 to £810,000. The £1m legal experts’ fees was mainly for advice on the outstanding equal pay claim and “other major projects”.

The details are in Part 2 of the report to councillors, so not available to the public.

Gwersyllt West Plaid Cymru Councillor Arfon Jones has written to Wrexham Council asking for the report to be discussed by a Scrutiny Committee. He said: "I have written to Councillor Steve Wilson, the chair of the Customers, Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee, asking him to list this report for discussion.

“This is a big increase in spending whilst we are having to cut back in other areas. We shouldn't be accepting these figures without some challenge and scrutiny from members. It seems perverse that we are offering redundancy and early retirement to our skilled staff whilst increasingly spending on consultants to do some similar work.

“We should also be asking why we are not collaborating with neighbouring authorities to share expertise; much of what we spend on consultants is identical to what other councils are also spending on consultants.”

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