July 2011 | Angeline Albert
Rochdale MetropolitanBorough Council (RMBC) has cut
its spend on consultants by almost 70 per cent over the last three years.
guidance from senior management enabled purchasers to draw up clearer
specifications for consultancy services, and ensure consultants provide what
the local authority actually needs. Buyers were also provided with improved
training to complement the changes.
governing the use of consultants were improved between 2008 and the 2010-2011
financial year, with spend reduced to £378,000.
Farooq Ahmed, cabinet member for finance, said: “The new process ensures a
consistent approach is used and further guidance has been provided to officers
writing specifications to make sure we are clear about what we want from
consultants, and that we achieve our objectives.
we do need to draw on consultants if we don’t have the experience or skills
within the council, but I am now confident that we have a rigorous process in
authority will also implement an IT system in October to further improve the
management of consultancy spend. RMBC is also taking the lead to help other
authorities in Greater Manchester and Lancashire implement the system, called
the ‘seeker managed service’. DarwenBorough Council is already using it in Salford and
Jones, head of procurement at RMBC, said: “The seeker managed service will
provide many benefits. For example it will give us more information on which to
base our decisions, it will enable regular benchmarking of rates to ensure that
the best terms are achieved and it will make it easier for local consultancies
to bid for work, which is always a key priority for the council, by creating
one point of contact via the seeker system. We will be holding an event in the
near future to introduce potential suppliers to the system. ”