Friday, 20 December 2013

#QuackCWaC: On a mission to waste as much taxpayer's cash as possible?

As recent as June 2013 the council sent two councillors and eighteen staff on a taxpayer funded jolly to the MJ (Municipal Journal) award ceremony. The cost of attending the event was £9077.81. Read my blog post about that waste of money here.

However, wasting taxpayer's money is nothing new to Cheshire West and Chester Council. As long ago as 2009 they wasted £25937.84 of taxpayer's money just to promote Cheshire West and Chester Council to other Councils! Read my blog post about that waste of money here.

They must have thought they weren't wasting enough taxpayer's cash on vanity exercises because they more recently wasted another £12,000 or so on yet another vanity exercise. The cost of a glossy advertorial supplement to the MJ magazine. (Yes, the same organisation that organised the award ceremony mentioned above.) However, unlike the 2009 exhibition this appeared to promote the leader and CEO of the council rather than the council itself. Read the full story from the source.

Why does a council need to promote itself to other councils? Why does a council have to send so many people to events? Why do the leader and CEO think it is necessary to promote themselves to other councils?

As far as I am concerned all the above have been a complete waste of taxpayer's cash. Except of course for those attending the jollies or having their egos stroked at the taxpayer's expense.

The council's latest attempt to waste even more taxpayer's cash was by sending a large number of senior staff on two jollies to London at a cost to taxpayer's of some £11,000.

The general objectives for both trips were

- To provide an intense learning opportunity for Heads of Service and rising stars

- To focus on emerging trends in policy and politics in general and centre-local relations and public innovation in particular

- To provide an exposure to Westminster and Whitehall of relevance and practical use to participants

- To provide an opportunity to improve professional understanding and policy making by providing the opportunity to meet with guests and presenters.

The focus for the first trip on the 5th and 6th November 2013 was

1. Social finance, mutual and employee owned spin outs

2. DCLG, parliament and the media.

The focus for the second trip on the 19th and 20th November 2013 was

1. Economy, Exports and Growth

2. Central Government, parliament and think tanks

Read the full itinerary for the two events here

Cutting through the HR bullshit it appear to me to be just an excuse for some well paid public servants to have a chat (and a few meals) with some other well paid public servants. What most people would consider as a taxpayer funded jolly.

Read the full FOI request and responses here and make your own mind up.

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