Doncaster Council spent £20m on consultancy fees over five years, new figures reveal

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, who sits on the Public Accounts Committee, said a body should be established to monitor spending on consultancy fees.
Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, who sits on the Public Accounts Committee, said a body should be established to monitor spending on consultancy fees.
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One of the borough's MPs has called for the establishment of a new financial committee to oversee council expenditure, as it was revealed Doncaster Council has spent £20million on outside experts over the last five years.

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, who sits on the Public Accounts Committee, said a body should be established to monitor spending on consultancy fees.

New figures revealed how Doncaster had the highest spend on consultancy in Yorkshire at £20,986,000, followed by York with £11,201,951 and Hull with £7,393,190.

The figures, obtained by our sister title the Yorkshire Post, showed how councils in Yorkshire have spent more than £72million on consultancy fees over the last five years.

Ms Flint says: “The figures suggest a growing reliance on consultants as local authorities reconfigure services or manage large projects.

“Value for money is essential.

“Local authorities need to be transparent about those costs and demonstrate what efficiencies or positive outcomes arise from their use.

“As England moves towards ever greater devolution, this needs to be matched by adequate scrutiny.

“At present, there is no equivalent of the Public Accounts Committee at regional and sub-regional level to audit spending. There needs to be for the public good.”

In Calderdale the local authority’s spend on consultants had decreased from £1,234,949 in 2012/13 to £490,133 in 2014/15 but more than doubled the following year.

Local authority spending on outside consultants is likely to increase with cuts to budgets and councils less able to employ staff experts, according to the chairman of the Communities 
and Local Government Committee.