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Serious questions raised by The Stirrer about the cost of hiring consultants at a Birmingham Council department threatening 1300 redundancies have finally been answered.

We revealed that Heather Tomlinson had been hired on a £5,000 per week contract (enabling her to work just four days) as Interim Education Director; while former Service Director Mike Yarnold has been re-hired at £750 per day after retiring last year.

Tomlinson's role sees her enjoying a salary twice the size of her previous post in Bristol - where she had a similar job, and her appointment was made outside of the normal JNC procedure.

Here, finally, is a response from a Council spokesperson to at least some of the issues raised:

Re Heather Tomlinson:

"This is an interim appointment while we seek to recruit someone permanently to what is a key role within the authority. We needed to get someone with the necessary skills and experience quickly into post so
important projects were not allowed to drift.

"As interim Director for Transforming Education, Heather's responsibilities include driving forward the £2.4 billion Building Schools for the Future project, one of the biggest school transformation programmes in the country."

Re Mike Yarnold:

"Mike retired from Birmingham City Council in March 2007. During 2008/09 he was employed for two specific projects over a short period of time which exploited the expertise he has amassed during his time with the Council.

“One of these was the Primary Strategy for Change and involved consulting with head teachers on how best to utilise funding streams.

“The other was conducting a high level review of the delivery of catering and cleaning in schools within Direct Services, a division which he set up and has previously headed.

“His rate of pay was considerably less than the figure quoted in the Stirrer.”"



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