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News and Comment May 2012

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21 May (Part 2) - Expenditure on consultants

Nick JohnsonClose followers of Bexley council will know that it is shelling out a £50,000 a year pension to its former Chief Executive Nick Johnson while he works for another council. Well not quite working for another council, he actually works for his own company that sells his services. A neat little tax dodge.

A question to Bexley council provided the welcome answer that none of its staff are employed via such mechanisms and that its only expenditure on consultancy is through companies such as Parsons Brinckerhoff who some hoped might inject a little sense into Bexley’s road schemes - some hope!

A problem with Bexley’s Freedom of Information responses is that you can never be sure they are accurate and this may be such a case. It claimed that “based on information contained in our central accounting system, the cost [of employing consultant firms] for the financial year 2011/12 was £194,085. This excludes the engagement of consultants in schools”.

Their own website lists payments over £500 and the oldest entry, October 2011, shows that in that month alone, Parsons Brinckerhoff picked up more than £200,000. In Bexley it is hard to know where the truth might lie.


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