Rural development watchdog overspends its HR budget

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.”

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