Thursday, 21 July 2011

£25937.84 to promote Cheshire West and Chester Council to other Councils!

What started out as a simple query regarding a couple of items I spotted after CWaC was forced to publish details of all council spending on credit cards has now turned into something much more interesting.

Following information gleaned from another FOI request which itself led to a third FOI request the full cost of CWaC attending the 2009 Local Government Association can now be disclosed.

Total cost of attending the 2009 Local Government Association conference/exhibition. 
Accommodation costs at the Old Swan £2878.50
Registration fee £2984.25 
Cost for stand space at the exhibition and the development, design, build and dismantle of the stand: £18,251.53
Cost of promotional magazine to give away on stand: £1,354
Reimbursed petrol costs (officers): three cars for distance of 192.6 miles (Chester to Harrogate return): £ 156.76
Members travel cost total: £312.80 Individual details below
Councillor Mike Jones: £92.80
Councillor Derek Bateman: £97.60
Councillor Les Ford: £79.20
Councillor Malcolm Gaskell: £43.20 
Total costs identified so far = £25937.84 and that excludes CWaC's annual LGA membership cost and staff wages.

LGA Annual membership 2009/2010 £81,850 net of VAT.

When you consider Cheshire West and Chester objective for having a stand at the exhibition it brings into question whether the £25937.84 was value for money as far as taxpayers are concerned.

CWaC Council's objective was, and I quote, "to promote the Council’s ambition and achievements to 2,500 delegates (Members, Chief Executives and senior officers) from councils across the UK."

Who an earth decided that it was worth spending all that money promoting Cheshire West and Chester Council to other councils?  

It would have been cheaper just to mail a press release together with a £10 note to every single delegate.

1 comment:

  1. The LGA also are loath to criticise Mike Jones, the Council leader. Jones is prepared to place a ban on employees who chance upon malpractice or other unseemly behaviour and later develop into genuine whistleblowers.

    The ban will take the shape of a "gagging clause" within a compromise agreement, legally preventing the now ex-employee from exercising their statutory Freedom of Information / Data Protection querying rights (similar to an employer banning you from voting in an election). Such a ban is unlawful in contract law, because it is not possible to give away such rights.

    Simon Goacher, Head of Legal and Democratic Services has been given opportunities to drop this option, but maintains the ban is "lawful" and to date has not relented.

    The LGA, although directly contacted regarding an existing FOI / DP ban in February 2011, do not hold an opinion on this, and prefer to sit on the fence and not jeopardise the flow of subscription monies (public money) from the council, who in the meantime, remain uncontrolled and have free rein to hit out, engage in malpractice, cover it up illegally, and generally fly in the face of a professed commitment to "openness and transparency".


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