Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 17:42 UK

Council to recruit troubleshooter

Anti-cuts protest
Campaigners are fighting council's plans for 27 million of savings

Aberdeen City Council plans to spend 100,000 recruiting a troubleshooter to tackle problems with social work and care services.

Philip Cotterill, a local government expert from West Yorkshire, is expected to work part-time for six months.

The council said it had been instructed by Scottish ministers to bring in someone able to reform the services.

The cost of bringing Mr Cotterill to Aberdeen includes flights and accommodation.

Council leader Kate Dean said the appointment had been recommended by the social work inspection agency.

She said: "Those recommendations we have accepted. What I would say is that we will be speaking to the government and speaking to the various agencies who have suggested we take in extra staff, and asking them to consider how this is paid for."

It's not a pleasant thought given that we are making so many dramatic cutbacks to things in the city
Barney Crockett
Labour councillor

Ms Dean added it would be unwise to make permanent appointments when the council was restructuring of its departments.

Labour said the appointment indicated the desperate state of the city's finances.

The authority, run by a Liberal Democrat-SNP coalition, needs to make 27m of savings to balance its books.

Labour councillor Barney Crockett said: "I think that for any Aberdonian looking at the figures at the moment, they're sobering.

"It really does give us a shake. I think it's a reflection of the situation the city is in that we are having to contemplate such things."

Mr Crockett added: "I think he's obviously got experience, in particular experience in a place with great difficulties and possibly that's where we are forced to look at the moment.

"It's not a pleasant thought given that we are making so many dramatic cutbacks to things in the city."

A critical report from the Accounts Commission earlier this year said the council faced "extremely serious" challenges.

Mr Cotterill, a former leader of Kirklees social services department in West Yorkshire, received an OBE in 2004.

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