Fareham council set to take spending on consultants past £500k mark

Fareham Borough Council's offices
Fareham Borough Council's offices

Letter of the day

  • Local authority’s spending on Vanguard Consultancy firm set to go past £500,000 mark
  • Council say it is making annual savings of nearly £1million as a result
  • Critics say system is not needed and is all down to ‘common sense’
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A COUNCIL is to take its spending on a money-saving system that has overhauled how it carries out work past the £500,000 mark.

Fareham Borough Council’s executive is set to allocate a further £100,000 of funds to the Vanguard Consultancy, which would take 
its spending on the firm to 
£570,000.

We want to keep this going as our officers are now more empowered and we are delivering better services.

Councillor Sean Woodward

The firm was introduced in 2012 to implement a new way of working at the local authority and help cut costs.

Following the appointment, the council estimates it has managed to save £956,400 a year.

As the council’s contract with the firm is set to run out, the local authority’s executive is set to decide on Monday whether to renew the contract at a cost of £100,000.

Leader of the council Cllr Sean Woodward said: ‘We want to keep this going as our officers are now more empowered and we are delivering better services.

‘We are able to spend this money through the savings that we are making and at the end of the day it is the objective of a council to deliver good services for the lowest possible cost and we are achieving that.

‘The important thing about this is that we are not cutting services and personnel.’

A report by council officers has recommended that the executive allocates the £100,000 from the spending reserve surplus.

The council initially spent £300,000 on the firm in 2012, and another £170,000 last year.

Vanguard has so far been introduced in housing, penalty charge notices, benefits, planning, recruitment, streetscene and IT.

An extension of the contract would see it extended to council tax, business rates and democratic services.

Councillor Shaun Cunningham, of the Liberal Democrats said: ‘To me, it is all down to common sense.

‘We should be talking to our front-line staff and taking on their views instead of spending this money and axing vacant posts.’