Camera scheme's contracts revealed
EXCLUSIVEBy Ted JeoryPRIVATE consultants have been awarded contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds by speed camera bosses.The East Anglian Daily Times revealed exclusively yesterday how Essex Safety Camera Partnership had spent £60,000 on a PR adviser.
By Ted Jeory
PRIVATE consultants have been awarded contracts worth hundreds of thousands of pounds by speed camera bosses.
The East Anglian Daily Times revealed exclusively yesterday how Essex Safety Camera Partnership had spent £60,000 on a PR adviser.
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Now the EADT has discovered partnership bosses sanctioned spending almost £700,000 on outsourced companies to help run the operation, and a further £518,000 buying camera equipment from the private sector last year.
Accounts for the Essex Saftey Camera Partnership showed Siemens Atkins 2000, a consortium of Siemens Traffic Controls Ltd and WS Atkins Consultants, was paid about £270,000 in 2004/5.
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The consortium bills the partnership for each hour worked by its consultants, but the bulk is for the specialist project management work of Andrew Harris, who runs the camera organisation.
The partnership said up to 60 Atkins consultants worked for it last year, although some would have worked just one hour.
Examples of consultants' work included carrying out and examining a public attitude survey in eight towns, and also running speed and visibility surveys at camera sites.
Siemens Atkins was also involved in the cleaning, maintaining and repairing of the county's 125 fixed camera sites, the total bill for which was about £250,000 in 2004/5.
While the consortium was paid about £7,500 a month to clean, maintain and check the cameras - including removing graffiti - engineering giant Serco Ltd billed the partnership about £166,000 to carry out repairs.
During the year, Serco was also paid £518,000 for camera equipment with a typical Gatso unit costing about £16,500 and a further £15,000 to make it operational.
Camera managers also hired consultants from the Ramasses Group for £57,000 to advise on finance, budgeting and other operating matters, the accounts revealed.
The partnership claimed success for its work last year after fine revenues collected from motorists fell by about £400,000 to £4.7million. It has always maintained its objective was to save lives and cut accidents, not raise money.
A spokesman for the Essex Safety Camera Partnership said: “All the work that we do is cost-effective and value for money and is in line with good business practice.”