He also concluded that consulting engineers should still be relied on heavily by councils "but there will be real benefits in having in-house expertise, including getting maximum value out of partnerships with consultants."
Given honest goodwill on both sides, that would undoubtedly be true and should eliminate the problem of local authorities not being able to judge whether or not they were receiving good, value-for-money advice from consultants.
However, experience suggests that, human nature being what it is, some of these highly skilled council engineers may be tempted to ease their rightful burden by employing consultants to do jobs that should in future be done in-house.
And higher pay can buy higher skill but not necessarily more honesty.
BRUCE DENNESS, Cinxia Cottage, Ashknowle Lane, Whitwell, Isle of Wight, PO38 2PP