A senior councillor has attacked Haringey Borough Council over plans to spend £1.6million on customer service consultants.

Councillor Richard Wilson, the leader of the Haringey’s Liberal Democrats, said the money would be better spent on front line services.

The decision to hire the consultants came after the cabinet performance report showed only 63 per cent of calls to the council’s call centre were answered and only 17 per cent of calls were answered within the target time.

Cllr Wilson said: “It is astonishing that at this time of squeezed budgets the Labour leadership of the council thinks it is acceptable to spend £1.6 million of local taxpayers’ money on consultants.

“This decision is an insult to residents who want their council tax to be spent directly on front line services that benefit local people - not on expensive consultants.

“Haringey is the fourth most complained about council in England and more than a third of phone calls from residents don't even get answered, so it is clear that there is a massive problem.”

The opposition leader also complained that the new contract for the consultants, which was signed this week, was full of jargon which made no sense.

He added: “Chucking millions of pounds at consultants to write gobbledygook strategies about 'end to end business process re-engineering' and how to 'changing customer behaviour' is not the answer.

“Listening to residents and actually sorting out their problems is.”

Councillor Joe Goldberg, the cabinet member for finance, said employing the consultants is a way of investing in an efficient service for the future.

He said: “Putting our residents first is at the heart of everything we do.

“Continued cuts in government funding have undoubtedly had an impact on the high standards we would expect from our customer services.

“We know that our budgets will continue to be squeezed in coming years, but we are committed to investing in an efficient service that is fit for the future and saves money by allowing residents to do more online thereby reducing waiting times and freeing up our staff to respond more quickly to complex issues.”