'Excellent value': Roads consultant cost Shropshire Council almost £1,000 a day

A consultant tasked with fixing Shropshire's pothole problem and coming up with a plan to improve the county's roads cost £140,000 – nearly £1,000 a day.

One of the consultant's tasks was improving the county's pothole problem
One of the consultant's tasks was improving the county's pothole problem

Shropshire Council has confirmed that the consultant cost a total of £140,500 for 142-and-a-half days' work.

Steve Davenport, cabinet member for highways and transport, said the consultant had helped come up with a plan to manage and maintain Shropshire's roads and had proved "excellent value".

He said that the consultant had worked with the council while it recruited a new assistant director for infrastructure – a post which he confirmed has now been taken up by Steve Smith.

Councillor Davenport said: “The consultant’s initial contract was extended by two months to ensure that momentum for change was not lost in the period before Steve Smith took over.

“The agency from which the consultant was procured was paid £140,500 - exclusive of VAT, which the council is able to claim back. This has proven excellent value as all overheads were included such as leave, sick pay, employer contributions – meaning this would be the equivalent of a middle management role in the council over the two financial year periods he was employed."

Councillor Davenport said the consultant had provided vital expertise and that the council is looking to appoint a head of highways "in the coming months".

The council says the consultant's plan:

  • Included "improved contract management which is already deriving greater value from our supply chain."

  • "Ensured that the county was able to maximise its funding with bids resulting in more funding from government than ever before."

  • Included "improvements in the ways of working to ensure that more potholes are being fixed permanently first time and a significant reduction in our backlog."

  • "A greater focus on customer engagement."

  • "Bringing some functions back in-house where value can be evidenced."

Councillor Davenport said: “We are continuing to identify improvements to develop the service further and are confident that councillors and residents will see the full benefit of these changes over the coming months."

He added: “As well as investing in large projects such as the North West Relief Road, we’re undertaking an unprecedented amount of resurfacing of our roads this year. This year we’ve carried out 276km of surface dressing (the equivalent of resurfacing the route from Shrewsbury to London), which is twice the amount carried out in previous years.”

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