25th Oct, 2016

County council defends consultant pay

Evesham Editorial 29th May, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A FORMER Worcestershire County Council employee is to be paid £750-a-day to act as a contracted consultant.

County councillor Peter McDonald has criticised the organisation and said it was an insult to residents to pay such a day rate for someone to come in and advise the Joint Property Vehicle, especially when it already had a manager on a six figure salary.

The contract is for two days a week for six months – meaning the consultant will earn around £6,000 a month and about £36,000 for the entire period.

But the council’s chief executive Clare Marchant said the post was a move made as part of the Place Partnership and refuted claims by Coun McDonald that it was ‘privatisation of a public service’.

She added Place Partnership had been designed to make savings of approximately £75million by 2025 by establishing smarter and more commercial ways of managing public sector property on behalf of taxpayers.

This was so every pound saved on property services could be used on frontline services.

She said the Place Partnership was a public sector company formed by Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, Redditch Borough Council, Warwickshire Police, West Mercia Police, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council.

Ms Marchant added: “We’re now entering a critical period in creating this new company and ensuring we have people with the right specialist skills to manage that set up is crucial to its success.

“It’s important to note the programme director is a temporary appointment who will cease to work on Place Partnership once the managing director has taken over.”

She said funding for the post was shared across a number of different bodies, including the six partner organisations which created the Place Partnership with contributions from the Department for Communities and Local Government, Local Government Authority, the West Midlands Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership and others.

Ms Marchant said the consultant was currently paid £1,500 a week to ensure the Place Partnership was successfully delivered, with more then 60 per cent of that being paid for by Government and regional grants with the county council’s contribution being less than £270 per week.

But Coun McDonald labelled the move ‘scandalous’ and said:

“This is more than most people can earn in two weeks let alone a day.

“The Tory administration is treating residents with utter contempt and demonstrating they are completely out of touch with the needs of the people.

“Residents need monies to be spent on improving services, not throwing sheds of monies on an unwanted consultant.”