08:13 Thursday 24th March 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY GALL: 31 recommendations have been put before Peterborough City Council, after a report was produced into the authority’s use of consultants. Opposition politicians were concerned that spending millions of pounds on them was too much money. The report was commissioned after Councillor Mike Fletcher complained that the Council was spending too much on consultants. And Councillor Fletcher was at the meeting last night, and joins us on the line now. Good morning Councillor.
MIKE FLETCHER: Good morning Andy..
ANDY GALL: You wanted answers regarding consultants for some time.
MIKE FLETCHER: That’s right. It gives us great cause for concern that it’s taken 13 months for officers to answer questions I put forward on 18th January last year. And that was only done following pressure by this panel. It’s just not good enough. It shows complete contempt for an elected Member.
ANDY GALL: Are you happy with the report then? Because we spoke to Nick Sandford in the first hour, and discussed the semantics of what a consultant is, and the need for them. But are you happy with what the report has ..?
MIKE FLETCHER: Yes. From what I’ve seen, the Panel have conducted an in-depth inquiry. They’ve worked hard at it, and they’ve got a long way. But I still think that there’s several aspects that need clarification. For instance, it’s never been denied that some of these consultants are being paid £1300 a day.
ANDY GALL: What!
MIKE FLETCHER: Yes, £1300 per day. It’s never been denied.
ANDY GALL: Never been denied, but £1300 a day, that’s a rude amount of money.
MIKE FLETCHER: It is. But in this report, it doesn’t clarify just what they are being paid.
ANDY GALL: Right.
MIKE FLETCHER: And I look upon that most seriously.
ANDY GALL: So basically you want them to be much more sort of .. everything’s laid out in front of you, and you can see it clearly, exactly where all the money’s being spent.
MIKE FLETCHER: Absolutely. But we should also remember that comprehensive recommendations were made following the 2006 inquiry into the use of consultants. And it would appear that those recommendations have not been adhered to. One of those was that all information should be kept centrally, and be readily available. If that had happened, then a great deal of time could have been saved this time around. We wouldn’t have even needed another inquiry.
ANDY GALL: But in summary Mike, your inquiry, where does it bring us to now? What’s the landscape like now?
MIKE FLETCHER: Well what we’ve got now, we’ve had the Report, 30 odd recommendations have been made, it is up to councillors to see now that those recommendations are adhered to. And I only got the full report yesterday mid-day. So I haven’t had time to really go through it in great detail, but even so, so far there are some things that I need clarification on. And I will be asking the relevant questions and getting those answers, I hope.
ANDY GALL: OK. But in essence, a bit more transparency and you’ll be a happier person.
MIKE FLETCHER: Absolutely. Yes.
ANDY GALL: OK. Councillor Mike Fletcher, thank you very much for joining us this morning.