Hull City Council leader Brady 'comfortable' with £430k being spent on consultants
CITY council leader Steve Brady says he is "comfortable" about £430,000 being spent on consultants drawing up plans to cut up to 240 jobs at the authority.
Corporate finance experts from Deloitte have been hired by the council to put forward proposals to restructure its business support department.
Their plans include overhauling the department's largely paper- based systems with computerised working.
In doing so, up to 240 posts within the section could be axed.
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Opposition Liberal Democrats claim a recent decision record authorising a further £65,000 payment to Deloitte to help with the upgrading of computer software was a sign even more spending on consultants could follow.
Deputy Lib Dem leader Mike Ross said: "We all need to keep a close eye on the costs of these consultants.
"I think it is very likely the costs will continue to rocket and the only thing the Labour administration will have to show for it is cuts to jobs and services.
"We said when the proposals first came out there were serious issues about how it had been handled and it looks like we have been proved right."
Councillor Ross said the ruling Labour group had campaigned against job cuts at the authority when it was in opposition.
But Councillor Brady said the Lib Dems had ducked the issue when they were in charge of the council.
He said: "The fact is, the last Liberal Democrat budget left that department to find £3 million of savings without any clear idea of how those savings could be achieved.
"I think all parties accept savings have to be made because of what this Government is doing to local councils.
"What we are doing now is only what the Lib Dems should have done at the time. The key difference is we have brought in consultants to make sure we can achieve savings without having an impact on frontline services.
"A budget has been agreed for that work but they are only being paid if they deliver the kind of savings they say they can.
"I would have thought anyone would think that it is a sensible way of going about things.
"If the savings don't materialise, they don't get paid. I am very comfortable with that."
Speaking at a council scrutiny meeting yesterday, he said: "We are facing a situation where there are going to be year-on-year cuts in Government funding between now and 2020.
"I have no regrets about campaigning over job cuts.
"At the time it was too far and too fast. You can't have 1,000 people leaving the organisation within the same month without the remaining staff being affected.
"However, you can mitigate a lot of job losses by being more efficient and flexible."
Separate plans for a slimmed- down senior management team at the Guildhall are expected to be approved on Friday.