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Posted by: John Brace | January 31, 2014

7 invoices during Wirral Council’s “spending freeze” are they all essential spending?


7 invoices during Wirral Council’s “spending freeze” are they all essential spending?

                           

Wirral Council’s Cabinet recently voted to consult on closing Lyndale School because of a projected shortfall this year in Lyndale School’s budget of £15,667 and next year of £72,000.

The Wirral Council invoices below are all for 2013, after Wirral Council instituted a freeze on “non-essential spending” in the Autumn of 2012. As usual you can click on the thumbnails for larger versions of the invoices. What is or isn’t “essential spending” is quite subjective, but if you have a strong opinion on way or the other please leave a comment.

Invoice 1

This is for £64,800 to a London-based company called The Ten Group Limited. The invoice is for answering governors questions at a one hundred and twenty Wirral schools. Surely Wirral Council could either direct governors questions to the Wirral Schools Forum or its own officers to answer? Even hiring someone full-time to answer governors questions would be cheaper than outsourcing it!

Invoice 2A/2B

The first of these two invoices is to a Rotherham based company called U-xplore Ltd for £23,256 for renewal of twenty-four full U-Explore licences. It’s for online careers advice. The company also charged £1,720.80 for “one month hosting” although what they’re hosting isn’t specified on the invoice. As part of the Greater Merseyside Connexions Partnership Wirral Council already contract with Connexions for careers advice who provide a jobs explorer database to schools and colleges, access to software, as well as face to face careers advice. So why the duplication?

Wirral Council U Xplore invoice February 2013 Wirral Council U Xplore invoice February 2013 (2)

Invoice 3A/3B

These two invoices total £10,368 to Theatre and Ltd (based in Huddersfield). It is for a four-day safeguarding think family training workshop. The money is for development, scripting, rehearsal and includes £249.60 in travel & mileage costs. Couldn’t Wirral have hired a more local company (which would’ve meant a saving on mileage) & surely everything anybody needs to know about safeguarding could be covered in a course of less than four days? I’m sure a local college or university could have put on a bespoke workshop for less than £10,000! Finally how many people actually went on this workshop?

Wirral Council Theatre and invoice January 2013 Wirral Council Theatre and invoice March 2013

Invoice 4

This invoice is from Wirral Metropolitan College for £3,240 for 27 hours of training about home based caring for up to twenty people for a course run over ten days for staff in the Wirral Council’s Surestart team. It ties in with my point about the earlier invoice that Wirral Council can get training from local providers cheaper and with the added bonus of supporting local employment!

Wirral Council Wirral Metropolitan College invoice March 2013

Invoice 5

This is for £1,194 to Veryan for a “Veryan WorkPlace annual licence”. Veryan is a Hampshire based software company and workplace is a piece of software to manage work experience placements. I don’t have a problem with using software for this, although it’s the kind of simple application based on a database that Wirral Council could easily write in-house (which would save the cost of an annual licence fee).

Wirral Council Veryan invoice February 2013

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Responses

  1. With regards to the ‘Theatrical invoice There are 2 ‘social’ companies in Wirral namely the Youth theatre and Masque as well as the Afterthought group in Liverpool. This company is run by the founder of the Youth company and has done work for Wirral on many occasions.
    Looks like Wirral is making a crisis out of a drama.

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