In the last ten months Eastleigh Borough council has spent almost £600k on consultant fees and nearly £5000 on Chauffeurs it has been revealed
Details of all council spending over £500 from between April – December 2010 have finally been put online by Eastleigh Council as:
“Part of its requirement to demonstrate transparency in its financial arrangements. The transparency agenda has been led by the government’s requirement for councils to publish data in accessible formats on their own websites”
Details of almost £17 million of council spending have been itemised in nearly 3000 spreadsheet entries – an average of £5500 per invoice. However £165,000 worth of invoices had details of suppliers redacted for reasons of ’confidentiality’ and are not publically accountable.
The £600k worth consultancy fees will include a £20,000 for consultants to dream up wacky alternative uses for the Southampton Road multi storey car park – one suggestion was for football pitches on the roof as reported by Simon Carr in the Daily Echo.
The council also spent £20,000 meetings at alternative venues like the swanky Concorde Club and posh gastro pub the Brigadier Gerard – meetings were even held at a golf club and on a chartered yacht!
The grub on offer at council meetings isn’t just a plate of Hob Nobs either! The council forked out £1100 to High street Bistro Guzel for their tasty Turkish treats.
While it’s clear many small local businesses are benefitting from supplying the council with goods and services, there are some fascinating items in the data; £6700 was spent on bike loans and so far this year cleaning the under occupied office block Wessex house has cost £23,000, weed control has cost the borough £17,000.
One major area of expenditure was the loss making Point theatre – the town centre Mecca for tax sponsored luvvies and psueds – which spent a total £354,000 pounds.
Almost £60,000 was given to Polish dance and theatre companies alone.
Three payments totalling £32,341 is recorded as being made to ‘Stowarzyszenie Kultury Teatral’ – which is Polish for ‘theatrical association’ – although there is no indication of which theatrical association this is – there are hundreds in Poland.
Meanwhile the Teatr Pieśń Kozła (Polish for ‘Singing Goat Theatre’) who staged a baffling interpretation of ‘Macbeth’ last year, received not only £2,367 from The Point budget but also a further payment of £23,570 out of the council’s finance budget, bringing the total paid out by Eastleigh taxpayers to Polish artistes to £58,278 for this financial year.
Furthermore, between April to December last year, Gregory Nash the former director of the Point, was paid £14,500 which included over £6,000 worth of MP sized travel expenses and almost £7,000 in subsistence payments.
Gregory Nash left his post as director of the Point in October 2009 to join the Young Vic as an executive director but left i9n January after just three months and now works as an associate producer at the Brighton Dome
The Point also provides support for up to eight ‘associate companies’ form all over the UK, who can’t get the funding from their own local councils.
Apart from detailing the council’s generous support of international dance troupes, the spending data also shows the council is also able to help out less deserving local causes:
Cherbourg Primary School got a grant of £1000, Eastleigh Bereavement service £500, Eastleigh FC, £2000 there were many other such small payments.
What interesting items can you find in the data?