Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Abolish overpaid consultants

Letters to the editor should be sent to: 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB. E-mail: writeback@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

I was not surprised to read that Stormont spending on private consultants has rocketed to the point where it is costing every man, woman and child £25 per year.

For years we have all observed the rise and rise of independent experts in Northern Ireland (for 'independent' insert the words 'exorbitantly overpaid') as our Government departments are asked to make more and more decisions.

It seems absurd that, while we have the highest expenditure per head on civil servants, when there is any sort of decision to be made, we turn immediately to the consultants.

Surely it is time to encourage our own public servants to begin the process of learning how to make decisions?

We have witnessed the growth of a culture within the Civil Service where it is more important to avoid making a bad decision than it is to make a good one. The consequence is that, at the first sniff of a pending decision, the consultants are called in so that if the recommendations are wrong, there is a highly paid fig leaf to hide behind.

It is time for our politicians to support the civil servants to have the courage to take decisions which will be in the public interest instead of leaving it to massive international consultancy businesses that have a range of other interests to represent.

Will Chamberlain, Belfast

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