Cash-strapped Powys County Council are to pay London-based consultancy 'Research for Today £30,000-£32,000' to provide workshops, where council tax payers get a say on where Powys County Council should make cuts in it's spending.
Cllr Stephen Hayes, portfolio holder for Corporate Governance and Corporate Property, said: “It’s not just about finding out what the public think we should do with the council tax but the level of service they want and the level at which we should stop spending on that particular service and start spending on other services.”
Though any final decisions on spending would still be taken by councillors in conjunction with the council’s corporate plan and Welsh Assembly Government guidelines.
Cllr Hayes explained that bringing in an outside consultation company had been favoured over the cheaper options of a web-only consultation and an in-house consultation due to the 'wider range of residents they will be able to reach' and the 'expertise that Research for Today will be able to bring to the process'.
I guess some tax payers may question why such large sums of money are being frittered away on expensive London based consultancies when there are in-house and local options available at a fraction of the cost. Bearing in mind final decisions would actually be taken by councillors anyway some might even question why we're spending this money in the first place.
Cllr Russell George said: “I know members within my ward will say ‘Why are you spending £30,000 on this? Isn’t this your job, we elected you to represent us and listen to our views’.”