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Council seeks savings on consultant spend


May 2008

Council seeks savings on consultant spend

Auckland City Council is reviewing its use of consultants to ensure that Aucklanders are getting value for money.

"The Chairman of the Finance and Strategy Committee, Douglas Armstrong and I have initiated a root and branch overhaul of all council procurement," says Auckland city's Mayor, John Banks.

"This will include rationalising and consolidating our suppliers (including contractors) to achieve better value for money for the ratepayers.

"It should dramatically improve how the council buys services and manages them. This is about ensuring the council gets the best value possible - best quality services and best prices," says Mr Banks.

"We have also asked the chief executive to prepare a report that will be considered at the Finance and Strategy Committee next week that reviews the effectiveness, mix and levels of the consultant work that the council contracts.

"In these difficult times, the council needs a firm hand on its contracts and finances - not to do so would be an abdication of commitments I have given about affordable progress," he says.

In the 2006/07 financial year Auckland City Council spent $71 million to engage external consultants to support staff expertise on projects it undertook in the city such as the Vector Arena, the Queen Street upgrade, the Panmure bus interchange and the construction of a new recycling facility in Onehunga.

Councillor Douglas Armstrong, chairman of the Finance and Strategy Committee says that it makes commercial sense to bring in external expertise when it is required rather than permanently increasing staff numbers.

"The key objective of hiring a temporary consultant is to get specialist knowledge and experience that is not normally available in the organisation," says Mr Armstrong.

"As we look at scaling back the capital works programme to focus on getting the essential things done to move the city forward, it is likely that there will be a natural reduction in the amount spent on consultants," says Mr Armstrong.

"This will be a key focus for discussion and decisions at our meeting next week."

ENDS

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