Scotland’s 32 local government bodies spent nearly £13m on consultants over the last 15 months, according to the local press.
The newspaper obtained these figures via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request which revealed that Edinburgh City Council has spent the most.
Although Edinburgh announced at the beginning of 2015 that it was cutting 1200 jobs in a drive to save £138m, it has also spent £5.1m over three companies: Deloitte Consulting, PwC and Ernst and Young.
“Spend in this area is closely monitored to ensure that we get best value for Edinburgh’s taxpayers,” a statement from the council claimed.
“We assess when it is necessary to engage external professionals to augment the skills and capacity of our own staff, who in turn benefit from the specialist knowledge being brought in-house.
“We will continue to look closely at expenditure on engaging external professionals and consultants to ensure that it adds significant value to the council’s own work,” it added.
“Capgemini are working in partnership with the council to deliver our new financial system. It’s important to stress that the £2.7m is a one off spend on the implementation and delivery of this new system will transform our business processes,” claimed Fife’s head of IT Charlie Anderson.
However, a number of organisations find the amount of money Scottish councils are spending, particularly on IT and consultancy, to be concerning.
“It’s very easy to use consultants to avoid risks, but taxpayers expect councils to be able to manage the functions requested of them,” claimed director of Taxpayer Scotland Eben Wilson.
“This amount of money being spent on consultants suggests to us that the work that high paid council executives are hired to do is being handed over to equally highly-paid consultants,” he added.