Councillors are set to approve a report authorising the final payments to PwC, consultants who were brought in by Wrexham Council to help make savings.
A report due before the Executive Board outlines the final payments to Wrexham Council’s ‘reshaping partner’ PwC – consultants brought in to help the authority identify and make savings totalling around £25m so far, with more likely in the future due to the economic climate in local government.
The recommendations include the final payments on various projects, including £22,287.50 (Highways) and £9,375 (Children and Young People). There are also ‘negotiated fee payments’ of £88,687.50 (Facilities Management) £6,562.50 ICT and £12,375 relating to Adult Social Care.
PwC were brought in to ‘support the Council in identifying projects and service approaches’ to deliver savings and efficiencies during a program of cuts due to reductions in the associated budgets. The use of external consultants has provoked questions, with PwC itself coming under fire over their interactions with local authorities.
Back in January 2015 we asked Cllr Pritchard if renumeration was linked to cuts made, and was told firmly ‘no, no’. This week we highlighted that quote to Cllr Pritchard and asked what had changed. Cllr Pritchard told us that whatever was said back there ‘would have been factual’, however ‘the agreement in the contract is 10% and we have not changed that’.
“For every pound they saved they get 10 pence. If I ran a company and someone came in and said they could save one million pounds and pay them one hundred thousand pounds I would support that,” said Cllr Pritchard.
“We brought in a partner for a fresh pair of eyes, and I am pleased on what they have identified.
“This is the final payment to them now. I hope we do not have to do this again in the future, whoever runs the Council after May they might want to bring in external partners, it is up to them.”
He added: “Where we are in Wrexham is that we are in a very good place. We have made difficult decisions, I do not want to name other local authorities, but I know we are leading the way in North Wales. It has been difficult, but we have made the tough decisions, and you cannot make savings of £25m and £5m for the next three years without making tough decisions. Tough times.”
Details published in next week’s report state: “This report considers the work undertaken by the Council’s Reshaping Partner in respect of Workstream 2 which was a project to reduce what the Council spent on suppliers.
“There are two projects which have been finished and consequently the final fee has been agreed based on the savings which have materialised. There are three areas where work is ongoing but our contract is ending.
“These documents basically outline how services will be bought or delivered in house and the likely associated fees and savings. The review of Social Care Placements and Contribution Levels from the Health Board are outlined in the Children’s Strategic Sourcing Plan. Whereas the Highways Strategic Sourcing Plan is around the move to deliver Highway, Carriageway and Footway Surfacing in-house rather than through an external provider.””The final three areas being worked on relate to the software that the Council operates, the procurement of Adult Social Care Placements and how it operates the management and servicing of Council facilities. The Council will undertake this work on its own now the reshaping partner has provided the blueprint.”
Wrexham Council told us the full and final figure to PwC for this work was £2,120,000 , with the above information indicating that savings / cuts / reshaping of around £21,200,000 was attributable to work carried out by PwC.
The report will go before Wrexham Council’s Executive Board at 10am on Tuesday 14th February.