£1000 per day for Private Consultant to council cabinet

December 16, 2008 1:13 PM

Gloucestershire County Council has finally revealed the truth behind the spin about the appointment of a so-called "non-executive director".

A private consultant is being paid £1000 per day plus expenses to advise Tory cabinet members and senior officers on how to run the council.

Sir David Pepper has been engaged by the council as a consultant.

The council's attempt to keep the details secret has been overturned by a legal challenge from Liberal Democrat councillors. The Freedom of Information Act request for the facts was initially blocked by the council.

Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Liberal Democrat leader said:

"Now we know why the cabinet were so determined to use a legal loophole to hide the facts. The Leader of the council has dressed up this appointment by claiming there will be a non-executive director of the council. This is just spin. A private consultant is going to be paid one thousand pounds a day to give private advice to cabinet members and senior officers. There is no job description, no contract of employment. Cabinet members were elected to do the job of running the council along with senior officers but now they will take a back seat as a private consultant takes over. This is a scandalous use of public money at a time when local people are struggling due to the credit crunch and recession."

The Conservative cabinet were elected to run the council alongside senior officers of the council. There are already at least 5 council officers paid over £100,000 per year who support the cabinet. The new consultant will act in a private role and all details of his work will be kept secret.

The council has claimed the appointment is the first non-executive director in England to be appointed by a county council. The truth is that no such appointment has been made. The title of Director is being used as an excuse to justify the appointment of a private consultant.

Cllr Ceri Jones, Liberal Democrat member of the Constitution Committee added: "There is great concern this appointment breached the council's constitution as no elected councillors were even allowed to ask questions or review the appointment. The all-party appointments committee was not involved and no details of any contract to secure the consultant's position exists. Such secrecy is an insult to elected councillors and more importantly to the people we represent."