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Annual Civic Dinner 2014 – Rochford District Council

March 3, 2014 by  

under thumbWith the furore created by the MP’s Expenses Scandal you might have thought that the searchlight must have been fully shone by now in to every corner, nook and cranny of public life and that voters now know the full story and public figures would think twice when spending hard earned public money on themselves.

But in our opinion there is another scandal in our local District Council which is all the more surprising given the focus that has been placed on our District Council to dispense with any unnecessary expense.  This is in a time of financial austerity when the man/woman in the street is suffering another increase in Council Tax which, combined with the increased Parking Charges, is the annual equivalent of nearly 5% in Council Tax.

So who is in charge of the Budget for the Chairman’s Civic Dinner?  According to Officers it is the Leader of the Council, Councillor Terry Cutmore.

When and what is the Chairman’s Civic Dinner?

28 March 2014 – Mill Hall

Ticket price £40

Black Tie

Pre-dinner drinks

2 bottles of Red and 2 bottles of White on tables

 It is probably better described by who is being invited.

All Mayors and Chairmen of Essex Councils (District and Borough)

The Chairman of Essex County Council

All Parish and Town Council’s Chairmen

Councillors of RDC

Essex County Councillors

Lord Lieutenant of Essex

High Sheriff of Essex

Chairman’s Chaplain

Chairman’s invited guests

Citizen of the Year winner, guests and nominator

VIP guests: – such as Police Commissioner, local Police, local Fire Service, local Ambulance Service, Chair of CCG, Southend Airport etc; and other key stakeholders as appropriate.

Senior Management Team – RDC

Who does not pay?  Among others we are advised:

The Lord Lieutenant of Essex

High Sheriff of Essex

VIP guests

Some of the Chairman’s guests and the Chairman’s Chaplain

Who are the VIP Guests?

VIP guests – such as Police Commissioner, local Police, local Fire Service, local Ambulance Service, Chair of CCG, Southend Airport etc; and other key stakeholders as determined by the administration.

What is the Cost (Total expenditure less ticket income.)

Net Cost over the last 5 years was over £18,000. Net Cost last year was £2276.

What is the purpose of the Civic Dinner?

To be honest I don’t really know in this day and age.  It looks like a “grandee hang over” from the 70’s.

I suppose it could be argued that with the Council getting to talk to “Stakeholder VIP’s” on free tickets that this could provide an opportunity to influence these people?  But

For many public office stakeholders surely the following rules must apply?

Gifts and Hospitality: You must not accept any gifts or hospitality which might, or might reasonably appear to, compromise your personal judgement or integrity or place you under an improper obligation. Where a gift or hospitality is accepted, this is recorded in a public register.

So Residents of Rochford District what do you think?  Should we be paying for this?

 

Notes.

Full Financial Information supplied by RDC

Year Income Expenditure Net

2008~09 (1,912.99) 6,951.83 5,038.84

2009~10 (2,770.80) 6,499.51 3,728.71

2010~11 (1,731.10) 5,603.92 3,872.82

2011~12 (1,525.15) 4,721.50 3,196.35

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