Search

Council spends £1.5m on 'mystery consultants'

PUBLISHED: 09:54 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:14 22 July 2010

MORE than £1.5million of taxpayers' money has been spent on private consultants by Islington Council in just one year, it has been revealed.

MORE than £1.5million of taxpayers' money has been spent on private consultants by Islington Council in just one year, it has been revealed.

Dozens of private consultants were paid up to £250,000 each from council funds - many for work of a nature the council will not to disclose.

One firm, paid £53,000 of taxpayer's money, is simply listed as "xxxxx" in documents Islington Council was forced to show the Gazette after a Freedom of Information request.

Campaigners say it is "very troubling" that taxpayers are not even being told what their cash is being spent on.

Last year £31,100 was spent on communication consultants - dubbed "spin doctors" - to improve the council's image, on top of the annual seven figure sum the council spends on publicity staff.

A firm of property consultants had mobile phone bills paid from council coffers. On top of its £70,897 bill to Islington, taxpayers' money was used to pay eight mobile bills at £45 each.

Matthew Elliot, of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: "It seems like an awful lot to spend on consultants. They lay off their own staff only to re-hire them as consultants - at a much higher cost. Then they claim they are being efficient by reducing the number of staff - but in reality they waste more money.

"Councils also use consultants to distance themselves from unpopular decisions. They get consultants to take the flak."

He added: "People are sick of councils who spend money on spin doctors than lowering Council Tax."

His views were echoed by Councillor James Murray (Labour), who said: "It doesn't look like value for money. It is worrying that we are not told what most of this money is for."

Councillor Terry Stacy, deputy leader of Islington council, said: "We keep a firm rein on expenditure - it's the reason our Council Tax is below the London average. Consultants have specialist skills to help deliver services. We spend a modest amount compared with some boroughs.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Islington Gazette