COUNCILS in North and Mid-Wales have spent almost £20m on external consultants over the last three years, new figures have revealed.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted by the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service shows the eight councils spent at least £18,133,621 on consultant fees between 2015 and 2018.

The total covers anyone taken in from an outside body to advise the authorities on various matters, during a time when all local authorities are cutting their cloth to meet dwindling block grants from central government.

Of the region’s eight local authorities, Anglesey spent the most despite being the smallest council of them all – having forked out £9.5m since 2015.

The second biggest spender was Powys, having outlaid £3.3m between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

According to the council, the spend was necessary to provide expertise on issues that the authority does not possess within its ranks.

A spokesman said: “Powys County Council uses external consultants for one off, ad hoc pieces of work where particular expertise or experience is required that the council does not have in-house.

“They can also be used if the council requires an independent evaluation or assessment to be made. Information about the use of consultants and a list of expenditure is published on the council’s website.”

Ceredigion was the only authority unable to provide any figures but its known that the council has awarded a contract to Price Waterhouse Coopers to identify opportunities to sustainably reduce the cost of providing essential services, thought to be worth around £2m.

2015/16 2016/17 2017/18

Anglesey £2,608,287 £4,341,374 £2,548,000

Gwynedd N/A £66,944.01 £51,426

Conwy £166,032 £265,139.87 £340,451

Denbighshire £177,424 £109,004 £132,477.25

Flintshire £484,522 £81,824 N/A

Powys £1,485,992 £807,186 £936,566

Ceredigion N/A N/A N/A

Wrexham £1,228,318 £1,888,779 £413,872