As reported by OnTheWight in March last year, the architect of the Isle of Wight’s controversial highways PFI is back on the Island was paid £95,000 for six months’ work fixing the contract he put together.
The Isle of Wight Council said last July, Jay Jayasundara (pictured middle), of Jasmine Consulting, would be paid £70,000 to explore cost-cutting measures within the contract.
However, between July and December, Jasmine Consulting was paid £95,761 by the council.
Housing costs for consultants “normal practice”
This includes a monthly payment of £750 to Island letting agents Hose Rhodes Dickson. This would pay for a two or three bedroom house on the Isle of Wight.
A council spokesperson said it was normal practice to pay for accommodation costs for consultants when the work goes on for a long period of time.
“It is normal practice for consultants to charge agreed expenses, which can be over and above the fees for their work. Expenses can include accommodation, travel and other subsistence costs, the scope of which is agreed in advance.”
In December, the latest figures available, Jasmine Consulting was paid £31,425.
In November, Mr Jayasundara was not paid for any work, but the council continued to pay rent to Hose Rhodes Dickson.
Brodie: “Supreme irony”
Independent Labour councillor, Cllr Geoff Brodie, said:
“Bringing back the man who designed the PFI contract in the first place to save the council money was the supreme irony.
“To learn that not only are we paying him £70,000 for six months work, but also housing him as part of an additional £25,000 charge beggars belief.
“At budget council on Wednesday we had a Conservative cabinet member telling us ‘children had to take their share of cuts’.
“Now we learn those cuts were partly to pay for a consultant’s no doubt palatial pad.”
On average, Jasmine Consulting was paid between £10,000 and £18,000 a month.
Council “confident services are proving to be valuable”
The Isle of Wight Council said it would review any expenses on a regular basis to ensure they represented value for money to the council.
A spokesperson said:
“In the case of Jasmine Consultancy, the council is confident the services offered by this firm are proving to be valuable in the ongoing work with the Island Roads contact arrangements.
“The payment to Jasmine Consultancy is a part of the wider project to save an estimated £40 million through changes to the contract with Island Roads.”
OnTheWight has requested a breakdown of savings achieved since being appointed in July 2018.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed