Belfast Telegraph

Council paid consultant £2,100 over viability of clown festival

By Staff Reporter

A new report has found one Northern Ireland council spent £2,100 on consultants to examine the potential benefits of a clown festival and comedy night.

Another spent more than £5,000 on the design of a new logo.

The findings were uncovered in an investigation by The Times which found a near £400m spend last year among 266 councils across the UK that responded to a Freedom of Information request.

That figure overall was up almost a third over the past four years and demonstrated how some councils had increased spending on consultants despite cutting back on services.

The Times found Newry, Mourne and Down District Council spent £2,100 on economic impact reports for a clown festival and comedy night, while Derry City & Strabane District Council spent £5,600 on a new logo and branding.

The Local Government Association told the paper it would be a waste of money to employ full-time staff for occasional help in specialist areas.

It also said consultant spending was a small part of council expenditure.

A spokeswoman for Derry City & Strabane District Council explained that due to the reform of local administration in 2014 and the merger between the former Derry City and Strabane district councils, a new suite of branding materials was required.

She added: "Much work on the rebranding process was carried out internally, but due to additional pressures on resourcing following the merger, and the specialist nature of the work required, some elements of the rebranding campaign were outsourced to ensure the process could be completed within a reasonable timeframe with the required level of expertise."

Newry Mourne and Down District Council was also approached for comment.

Belfast Telegraph

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