Peterborough council spends less on consultants but more on agency staff

The meeting of the Audit Committee
The meeting of the Audit Committee
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Peterborough City Council is currently spending less on private consultants, but much more on agency staff than last year.

Peter Carpenter, acting corporate director of resources for the council, told Monday’s (February 11) Audit Committee meeting: “In the first nine months of 2018/19 the council has spent £1.6 million on private consultants.

“That means by the end of the financial year we’re projecting £2.2 million on private consultants, which is £0.2 million less than in 2017/18.”

It wasn’t all good news, however, as Mr Carpenter outlined a rise in spending on agency staff. He told the meeting: “Unfortunately, we’ve spent £7.4 million on agency staff in 2018/19, compared to £6.5 million for the same period in 2017/18 – that’s an increase of £0.9 million.”

Chairman of the Audit Committee, Cllr David Over, wanted to know how this could be reduced in future, and said: “Next year, if I am still chairman of this committee, I want us to look in depth into the matter of how and why we use consultants.

“We must also look to see how we can reduce our agency staff bill because it is going up every year and it is too high.”

The three largest private consultants used by Peterborough City Council in 2018/19 are:

. 4OC Ltd: (£320,149) – a digital and operational transformation consultancy, supporting organisations delivering public services to increase the effectiveness of the public spend.

. Penna Plc: (£326, 749) – human resources management services. It offers recruitment solutions in the areas of talent attraction, talent management and assessment, executive search, interim management and assignments and appointments.

. Reed Specialist Recruitment Ltd: (£201,904) – a specialist provider of permanent, contract, temporary and outsourced recruitment solutions, IT and HR consulting.

Robert Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service