Council Travel Rates Going Up

The amount of money that Council officers and members can claim when travelling is to go up.

Members of Tuesday’s Policy and Resources Committee were told by Director of Finance, Peter Lawrence-Roberts, that rates should rise by 2.1%, roughly in-line with inflation.

Officers and members will now be able to get £122 for a 24 hour absence, rising to £139 if that means staying in London. And evening meals up to £12.78, or £24.41 in London will be refunded.

However, not all councillors felt the increase was warranted.

Cllr Richard McCarthy said he didn’t approve of the increase and wouldn’t support it, while chairman, Cllr Amanda Martin, said she would prefer fewer trips and any meetings that could take place by telephone or videoconference should be encouraged.

Cllr Dudley Mumford wanted to know what the reimbursement levels were based on and if we were compared with Cornwall Council.

Peter said the rates had been rolled on, year after year. He pointed out that it would be difficult to get an evening meal for £12.78 anyway and felt we would come out of any comparison, “pretty well.”

He also explained that people needed receipts so couldn’t, for example, claim money if staying with friends or relatives.

Cllr Christine Savill said officers had to be away from their families for longer than would normally be expected because of our location, and it’s only fair that they should be paid a reasonable rate.

She added that the levels were probably not correct but accepted, “we are where we are.”

 



9 Responses to Council Travel Rates Going Up

  1. A concerned local November 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I agree that the increase in expenses in ludicrous, but why should it only be limited to officers and members of the council? Does this mean that the other members of staff don’t deserve to have a hearty meal during their excursions away? This something to be expected from a private business at CEO level…

  2. Jane November 25, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Don’t think so Nobby..[ i maybe wrong!!.] I think if the councilors can sort all the mess out we are in, and it will take some time and with the support of the public. the community will be very happy with the COUNCILORS running the islands…

  3. Jane November 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I think where the expenses etc of the finance director is concerned you need to look at WHO employed him in the first place and offered him that deal.. and yes perhaps the councilors now need to sit down with him and try and come to some agreement to change that contract somehow that suit both party’s. and then also hopefully start sorting out the funding’s etc make sure it goes to the dept is should go to..
    and as for the scaremongering still going around about the council being taken away . its rubbish. that will only happen if the community wants it…

    • Nobby Nobbs November 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      I think you’ll find that a large number of the community ‘DO’ want the council to be taken away and given back to Cornwall.
      Cornwall doubtless have their faults, but at least we wouldn’t have our noses rubbed in it.
      I mean £18,000 a year in expenses!!!!!!!!!! for crying out loud, That’s just taking the pee, and this from the finance director

  4. Ted November 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Go away? How? Oh…you mean when the transport operator can manage it and the weather allows….I see.

    Well, being some meat back with you, and some fruit or veg, just stuff your pockets.

  5. Samual Vimes cmdr November 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Considering that the Director of Finance, Peter Lawrence-Roberts, claimed over £18,000 in expenses for last year; as a tax payer who funds these expenses, I might well call in to question Mr Lawrence-Roberts motivation for requesting such an increase in travel expenses.

    I have to strongly agree with Cllrs Martin & McCarthy that travel should be kept to an absolute minimum, and the use of conference calls should be maximised.

    The Director of Finance, has been able to make his large expense claim because he needs to keep travelling back to his ‘main residence’ on the mainland even though he shares a duchy a property with his partner on St Mary’s.

    Might I question why someone who could do much of their work with a laptop, an internet connection and a phone line from his base on the mainland needs to keep travelling to and from the islands.
    Might I suggest that either Mr Lawrence-Roberts moves here permanently so we can save £18,000pa in travel expenses, or we let him go and find a new Director of finance that will either live here or who will be content to work from a mainland base via the internet.

    Surly as the director of finance Mr Lawrence-Roberts has a legal obligation to….
    1. Find the most economic way of doing things
    2. Reduce costs
    3. Hold council staff to account over their expenditure
    4. Ask the question “Is this best value for money”

    I would say an increase in council staff travel expenses is very definitely not best value for money especially when the council is facing a half a million pound shortfall in next years budget

  6. lynn November 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    AT last, video conferencing has a mention, saves on travel and time hence less expenses. Come on Council of the Isles of Scilly get some credibility back and use this technology.

    • MyNameDoesntMatter November 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      But they can’t shop and look after their house and kids on the mainland via video conferencing! Plus hiring an executive car or travelling by train in the 1st class carriage isn’t cheap! And what will they eat in the evenings if Wild Goose isn’t on the menu? 10oz Steak with a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon wine? I think not!

  7. Diane Cidade November 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I thought this was might be a straightforward, clear-cut issue until I read Cllr Christine Savill’s thoughts on the issue: Is this a reimbursement for reasonable travel costs incurred by members and officers of the Council when away on business, including evening meals (as implied by Peter Lawrence-Robert’s requirement of receipts to show expenditures)? Or is this some sort of sympathetic bonus we are giving them because we’re meant to feel sorry that they live in Scilly, and like millions of other people in the world, need to travel for business occasionally? The former, I feel, is reasonable and justifiable; the latter, an insult to rate payers.

    Cllr Dudley Mumford is right in asking what the “reimbursement levels were based on”, but comparing ourselves to Cornwall County Council is a futile exercise here. The ‘reasonable rate’ should be just that: what it reasonably costs someone to have to stay away overnight. Our Council should be able to figure that out for themselves! I’m not sure why Cllr Savill feels the levels might not be correct; Could we be slightly more proactive than that, and take these issues seriously? Is there evidence that members and officers are regularly out-of-pocket after staying away overnight for business? If that’s the case, then for goodness sake, look into the issue seriously and resolve it. But if the only complaint is that it’s only possible to stay in 2- or 3-star places instead of 4- or 5-star in areas, then maybe they should look for work elsewhere (preferably in the private sector), or take Cllr Martin’s advice and do your best not to go away for business in the first place.