Consultants & The Encirclement of Public Services

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We at Leaky Towers have long had misgivings about the use of consultants by Wirral Council.  SEE HERE

Therefore it comes as no surprise to us at all to find out that following a Freedom Of Information request by that pesky Councillor Ian Lewis they have spent £1 million on hiring consultants.   SEE HERE

Of course we at Leaky Towers like to consider the bigger picture and our concern is not always just about the extortionate costs of consultants but the questionable “added-value” of people who seem to be quite happy to hasten the demise of the public sector as long as there’s a rise in their bank balance.

Essentially we agree with the definition that  “a consultant is someone who is brought in to find out what has gone wrong , in the  comfortable expectation that he will not bite the hand that feeds him by placing the blame where it belongs”

As reported time and time again on this blog this means that following the departure of consultants from the Wirral Council “crime scene” there usually remains more questions than answers.

Amongst many others we’ve had Richard ” Highways robbery” Penn, Rob ” Making hay out of the 4 week delay” Vickers, Joyce “Putting the earn in” Redfearn, Anna “Quids-in” Klonowski and Michael “Boiled Frog” Frater , oh and some anonymous IT Guy struggling to get by on £800 a day. SEE HERE

The latest in this inglorious trail of consultants is iMPOWER (no really – this is what these people decided to call themselves) and the recent publication of their report about the transport needs of disabled children. SEE HERE

Their 40 page graph-tastic report costing a whopping £107,000 demonstrates that you may not get much bang for your bucks but you may get the answers you want.

In their report iMPOWER identify that the problem Wirral Council faces in the rising costs of providing transport lies in the fact that too many disabled children are being assessed as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) on Wirral compared to some other local authorities ( because as anyone who has a child who has been assessed for a such a  SEN Statement – these are an absolute doddle – NOT!)

But not to worry iMPOWER have been discussing ” efficiency opportunity ideas” (!) with parents and carers of disabled children who they have identified have the “value modes” of either “settlers, prospectors or pioneers”

Is it us or do these kind of people grow up watching too many Westerns (see also our Cowboys & Indians story) ?

We would argue that the ideological basis for the dismantling of public services is known as neoliberalism  which “has taken its toll and the language of consultancy has displaced and replaced the language of conscience and commitment”

In his book ” A Brief History of Neoliberalism” David Harvey offers a clear definition of neoliberalism as a system of “accumulation by dispossession,” which has four main pillars:

  •  1) the “privatization and commodification” of public goods;
  • 2) “financialization,” in which any kind of good (or bad) can be turned into an instrument of economic speculation;
  • 3) the “management and manipulation of crises” (as above); and
  •  4) “state redistribution,” in which the state becomes an agent of the upward redistribution of wealth”.

Or in terms of consultancy -speak and using the wild west analogies of which they seem so fond, it seems to us it’s a case of the “Not OK Corral” where consultants encircle their wagons, staking a claim for the public services pot of gold.
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3 thoughts on “Consultants & The Encirclement of Public Services

  1. and the report on the wirralbiz project by a Liverpool academic, paid for by wirralbiz, who claimed it back off the WBC, coming in at a modest £9,990 at start 2008!

    Not an audit or any control just a report from Liverpool University. Bet you cant get a copy of it now! As difficult to obtain as the Gaddafi boy’s doctoral thesis

  2. G’day My Lord

    I read your comment with interest;

    Essentially we agree with the definition that “a consultant is someone who is brought in to find out what has gone wrong, in the comfortable expectation that he will not bite the hand that feeds him by placing the blame where it belongs”

    I was pleasured with my dear friend Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro and one other by spending a whole day with the Grant Thornton “independent” investigator.

    The “independent” investigator that came from the Clowncil’s VERY OWN auditing firm.

    He openly told us he would not question council officers directly because they would then not help him, or, co-operate with his investigation.

    Now, months and months and months and months and months later the Reports on Big, ISUS and Working Neighbourhoods are a closely guarded secret of the Clowncil.

    Did he bite the hand that fed him?????????

    HE DOESN’T WORK FOR THE CLOWNCIL’S AUDITING FIRM ANY MORE!!!

    Lovely man. Very professional, clever, open, honest and transparent (the kind of man the clowncil would not employ) and obviously did his job thoroughly and forensic with very limited time. Yet still found them???????

    When will the Clowncil reveal these reports to the Wirral taxpayers’ that paid sixty thousand pounds for them, yep, £60,000.00?

    Ooroo

    James

    Ps open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent
    open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent open transparent

    Pps I blew the whistle to Basnett and Adderley 1,044 days ago, go ask them what they did about it.

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