Friday 25 November 2011

Carmarthenshire credit cards - Part two - Travel

Part 1 here;

In addition to the spending details released yesterday on general items with the council credit cards we also have lists of train fares, airline tickets and hotel accommodation for council staff and Members, these are categorised by department rather than individuals. The reasons for the stay/journey are not logged. However, it makes interesting reading and clearly, for some, if you'd care to look, only the best will do.

Here's the figures for 2010

And the figures for 2011;

(You'll notice small tabs across the bottom of the page to see each table and view individual credit card transactions)

I've totted up the figures for 2010;
Hotels for staff; £32,603
Flights for staff; £5431
Trains for staff; £15,388

Hotels for Members; £3729
Flights for Members; £262
Trains for Members; £2622

Grand total £60,035 added to the purchases of £40,000 makes a yearly spend, for 2010, of around £100,000 on the credit cards.

I realise that conferences have to be attended etc but to be honest this seems to be a huge amount, I never realised they were such a well travelled lot.

And on a completely unrelated note here's the latest post from Y Cneifiwr with further info on Carmarthenshire Council's 'partner' organisation, the Towy Community Church; Feeding the 5000
(Further to Carmarthenshire Council in Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs, again  and assorted previous posts)


Cneifiwr said...

There are a few eye catching, and eye-watering, items. Why do Carmarthenshire staff have to stay at hotels in Newport, Cardiff, Llantrisant, or incredibly, Cothibridge (actually whoever wrote that entry should be flogged savagely - it's Pontargothi), a short car journey from County Hall.

And a train fare of £490 for someone from the chief executive's department to London. Taking the limo would have cost us less.

Anonymous said...

should have used the travelodge in london... save a packet lol.

i noticed the local stays as well, cardiff. swansea... pity it does not say who was travelling and for what purpose etc...

ah, i noticed those little tabs yesterday, i was wondering what they were.. that's why they needed the two antler suitcases from argos then on nov 11th 2010..

and still cannot think why they needed the giant dice lol.. unless some kid chewed on it and got a mouthful of foam and someone checked the toxity levels..then again, they didn't need to buy a new one for that as they can use that one. unless there a few fakes floating about and they needed to check authenticity..then again, they would have asked the manufacturer for the sample.. anon2

doesn't trading standards do test trading though? wonder how much their bill is per year

caebrwyn said...

These figures are throwing up further questions, eg why someone from Social Care and Housing had to fly to New Zealand costing £820 -perfectly legitimately no doubt, or why several stays in Cross Hands and Llanelli were necessary etc etc More information is needed. I shall ask further through FoI.
If anyone has anything specific they want to know, leave a comment here and I'll ask, or better still, just use the What Do They Know site - it's simple! and public. I can maybe give basic advice about wording a question if needed.

Anonymous said...

What's emerging here then?? Not another expenses scandal! Good grief; certainly not in our totally democratic and utterly transparent Carmarthen Council!!!

Andrew Wiles [aew] said...

For £60,035 I'm sure they could get very well equipped Video Conference suites in their (major) offices, not to mention the green aspect of not flying to NZ for a meeting.

Nospin said...

Credit cards often used to avoid the possible rigours of a purchasing dept , who should if they were any good get better deals and cheaper hotels etc.

Can also be used to avoid having to get authority before the expenditure.

caebrwyn said...

@Nospin I agree, there are advantages, a point I made in my earlier post on this subject; The real issue is whether the money spent was best value for the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Strand Palace on the 8th of December seems awfully expensive. I have checked website and cant find a rate anywhere nearly as expensive as paid by council - assuming it is for one night only.

Also some part payments appear to have been made by members for first class travel. When were these payments made - before FIO request or after I wonder.

caebrwyn said...

I also noticed that the Strand Palace in London is a popular destination; on the 16th November 2010 person or persons unknown from 'Resources' stayed for £800, as did Councillors unknown for the same price, £800. For how long is unclear but only one date is recorded. The train fares for this visit were £528.50 for Resources and £528.50 for councillors. Hopefully it was an essential trip for the benefit of the residents of Carmarthenshire.