A cash-strapped Scottish council spent £17,500 to recruit a ‘Transformational Change Manager’ – who was then paid more than £70,000 a year.
The “extraordinary” payment was part of almost £53,000 spent by Edinburgh Council on head-hunting fees in order to fill four management roles.
Recent budget cuts at the council include reducing funding for dozens of charitable organisations, making cuts to the city’s library services and a proposed loss of around 1,200 public sector jobs.
But that did not stop the council from paying head hunting firm Carlyle Associates £52,789 in just seven months on “executive search services”.
Taxpayers groups have blasted the council’s spending on headhunting, demanding they use their own considerable internal recruitment resources.
New figures, released under Freedom of Information, show Edinburgh Council made four payments – ranging from £5,280 and £17,578 to Edinburgh-based Carlyle Associates – between October last year and May.
In one single payment, the council forked out a whopping £17,578 to fill the vacancy of “Transformational Change Manager” – who then commanded an annual salary of up to £73,486.
The role, which was advertised by the council last year, calls for a candidate who will “drive, co-ordinate, organise and ensure delivery of the council’s business and transformational change programme to achieve priority outcomes and realise benefits of strategic importance.”
Carlyle Associates, who claim to “fill senior strategic positions in some of the UK’s most dynamic companies”, was also paid £15,931 to locate an ‘Organisational Development Manager’ for the council’s “newly created” ‘Organisational Development Service.’
According to the job advert, this candidate – also paid up to £73,486 – is responsible for “leading, developing and implementing the council’s “Human Resources strategies, initiatives and policies on change management, cultural change and employee engagement”.
Edinburgh Council also forked out £14,000 to help find a ‘Corporate Facilities Manager’ – paid up to £66,254 and £5,280 to recruit a ‘Commercial Manager’ also commanding a fat salary of up to £66,254 a year.
Eben Wilson, director of TaxpayerScotland, said: “It does look as if these recruitment costs are rising to extraordinary levels.
Mr Wilson said it was right for the council to want the best staff but added: “Highly paid, well-pensioned, annual incremented posts like these are in huge demand. Is it really necessary for ordinary council taxpayers to pay so much to communicate, in an eager market, that these posts exist?
“It would be good to see the council cutting costs dramatically by using their own internal resources and COSLA type channels.
“They would obtain the same response at a tenth of the cost to taxpayers.”
Last year it was revealed Edinburgh Council spent more than £1,300 a month on free biscuits and coffee for guests and staff at meetings.
The council also spent £174,050 on bottled water over a three year period.
In December 2011 it was revealed that staff at Edinburgh Council blew £6,500 on team-building sessions in a year, including £850 on a treasure hunt.
Officials signed up for a £2,500 trip to an outdoor centre only to have to fork out a big cancelation fee when they summoned back for tram talks.