Havering Council has �published details of its spending on amounts over �500 in March – after a three month delay.

Havering Council has �published details of its spending on amounts over �500 in March – after a three month delay. The total spend in the last month of the financial year, was �63m.

It spent almost �800,000 on a firm of consultants in that month – which it says will save it �2.5m a year.

The company – Capgemini – offers a range of services including “thought leadership” for industry, and boasts of having minimised the Prince’s Trust’s carbon footprint.

Merge departments

The council is employing the firm to help it merge �departments and improve customer service.

Council leader, Cllr Michael White (Conservative, Squirells Heath) said it provided expertise that “we don’t currently have at the council so we are able to make huge changes in the way we work without affecting the delivery of services.”

He added: “By 2014 we need to reduce our annual running costs by �40m while protecting front line services.

Most Read

“In order to do this we are reducing bureaucracy and changing the way the council works.”

A spokesman added that the spending comes from reserves earmarked for this use, rather than out of its annual budget.

He added that it was �being used by the council for 15 months and the savings would last for years.

Cllr Clarence Barrett (Residents’ Association, Cranham) said: “As soon as consultancy firms brand themselves as ‘thought leaders’ or ‘horizon scanners’ it inevitably raises a question mark.

“The council has spent around �4 million on �consultants over the past two years and it needs to be demonstrated that it represents value for money to council tax payers.”

He added that the council should look to share expertise with other local �authorities.

Other items included �almost �600,000 with Fujitsu, who were installing new phone systems for council offices. This total includes ongoing technical support from the company.

Spending for the month, which was the last of the financial year, included �almost �15,000 on teacher �recruitment company the Teaching Network, and �1.4m in teachers’ pension fund contributions for �February.

The delay to the publication of the information was due to technical problems, the council said.