£20 million: Croydon’s planned spend on consultants this year

Croydon Council is to spend £20 million this year on interim staff and consultants – therefore repeating the massive outlay of Council Tax-payers’ cash to highly paid short-term hires and outside companies in 2011.

Inside Croydon has obtained a council spreadsheet called a “commissioning map” which outlines the Taberner House spending plans for 2012.

Yesterday, we were able to reveal plans to buy £900,000-worth of new furniture for the council executives who will be moving into the new glass palace HQ building.

That spend comes under the auspices of Corporate Resources and Customer Services, the division that is run by the borough’s deputy CEO, Nathan Elvery.

Also listed on that spreadsheet for this department is

£20 million

on what it calls “Temporary Staffing Managed Service Provider”. That’s a temp agency to most people.

The £20 million is similar to the amount paid to consultants and interim staff – such as the £765-per-day man uncovered by Inside Croydon – by our council in 2011.

Doubtless this will all be presented as “enabling further efficiencies”, rather than out-of-control empire building at public expense by Elvery and his boss, Jon Rouse.

Croydon CEO Jon Rouse: refuses to explain his council’s £26m spend on temporary staff

As usual, we asked Rouse and his political masters, Mike Fisher and Tim Pollard, leader and deputy leader of the Conservatives who are supposed to be “in control” at Croydon Council, to explain such extravagant spending on contractors and temporary staff. At time of publication, we were still waiting the courtesy of an acknowledgement from these “public servants”.

What seems most inexplicable is that after six years in charge at Croydon Town Hall, the local Conservatives still have not managed to apply the handbrake to expensive spend on some of the council’s executive’s pet projects.

Yet there are not enough primary school places in the borough, domestic bin collections have been halved and road sweepers let go, and grants to volunteer groups and youth services axed.

Handful of consultants on board Croydon’s gravy train

As we discovered last year when trawling through the council’s published invoices, the £20million is likely to be spent with a handful of key suppliers.

  • In 2011, the lion’s share, £14.3 million, went to Comensura, a temporary staff agency. This is mostly for lower paid, agency staff, many of whom might be readily employed by the council, often for lower cost than charged by the agency.
  • Odgers received £716,824 last year. “Odgers Interim is an acknowledged leader in interim management appointments, helping clients to fill critical skills gaps with experienced interim managers” – or put another way, they charge you an arm and a leg in “commissions” because your organisation did not manage its staff properly.
  • Mace, the company which drew up the report that justified moving council staff out of Taberner House because the 1960s block would prove too expensive to maintain, is now receiving juicy contracts to work on… the new HQ building. Last year, they picked up the thick end of £800,000 for work with Croydon.
  • And last year Croydon Council spent £2 million of your money with expensive law firms, such as DHK Stallards, which is known to specialise in employment law… probably the high cost of making so many long-standing staff redundant.

It seems that the same firms can expect to be on the Croydon Council gravy train – at your expense – for a while yet.

  • Inside Croydon: A news source about Croydon that is not based in Redhill. Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, email us at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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