Our council thinks, as many people do, that money spent on training is money well spent. And that’s probably why we’ve had access to some training of elected members. The OWLs are outraged. A Company, Link Services UK, has provided a couple of courses. The fees average £78.75 each for 20 councillors, and £787.50 for 2 councillors.
Corporate Priorities and Vision Scrutiny Workshop David McGrath – Link Services UK- £1575. Councillors: Blake, Cooper, Coughlan, Dereli, S Evans, Finch, Furey, Gagen, Gordon, Gregson, Mills, Mitchell, Moran, Nixon, Owen, Owens, Sutton, West, D Westley, Whittington Total: 20= £78.75 per councillor.
Mayoral/Civic Coaching- Link Services UK- £1575- Councillor: Aldridge, Nixon Total: 2=£787.50 per councillor.
OWL Group Chairman Cllr Adrian Owens said “The Mayor is an experienced councillor and a former Chairman of Lancashire County Council. He has to chair about 6 meetings this year. It is indefensible to spend £1575 of council taxpayers’ money on a one-day online training course on how to chair meetings. An internal refresher course including use of Skype should have been sufficient”.
“In any circumstance this largesse could not be justified, but in the current situation it is outrageous. The council is still reducing its staff numbers to balance the books with more staff leaving on redundancy this month while leisure centre staff face an uncertain future and possible shorter hours. In the wider community, many residents are fearful for their job security or having to tighten their belts. The council needs to ask every time it writes a purchase order is this spending justified?”
It’s worth reminding ourselves this is the council that spent £800 on advice from Counsel to keep in place a councillor who was within one day of six months absence and thus removed from office, already having been paid her publicly funded allowances! And we thought it couldn’t get any worse!