Spending on HR consultancy services for a new rural watchdog has breached the government’s budget by more than £63,000.
Natural England – which combines the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service – confirmed more than £1.23m had been spent on HR for the 12 months to September this year.
The budget for spending on such services had been set at just in excess of £1.17m back in March.
A spokesman for the watchdog, which was only launched at the start of this month, said while the cost of HR had far exceeded expectations, this was a one-off cost while the body was set up.
He said: “The HR service is now done and dusted and carried out through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ shared services division.”