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Council spent £1,500 ‘training Mayor on how to chair a meeting’

Council spent £1,500 ‘training Mayor on how to chair a meeting’

by Danielle Thompson (October 2020)

COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of frittering away £1,575 on ‘training Mayor how to chair a meeting.’

West Lancashire Borough Council have been criticised by the Our West Lancashire (OWL) group for spending the funds on a one-day online training session on chairing council meetings.

They say that it “outrageous” to spend such a sum at the same time as long serving council staff are being made redundant and others face possible short-time working.

OWL group chairman, Cllr Adrian Owens said: “The Mayor is an experienced councillor and a former chairman of Lancashire County Council. He has to chair about six meetings this year.

“It is indefensible to spend £1,575 of council taxpayers’ money on a one-day online training course on how to chair meetings.

“An internal refresher course including use of Skype should have been sufficient.

“In any circumstance this largesse could not be justified, but in the current situation it is outrageous.

“The council is still reducing its staff numbers to balance the books with more staff leaving on redundancy this month while leisure centre staff facing an uncertain future and possible shorter hours. 

“In the wider community, many residents are fearful for their job security or having to tighten their belts.

“The council needs to ask every time it writes a purchase order – is this spending justified?”

Council chiefs have defended the expenditure saying there five people on the course say there five people on the virtual course and that material provided meant future sessions would be held in-house.

A spokesperson for West Lancashire Borough Council said: “The training provided was held virtually and was attended by five participants (the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and three officers) at a cost of £315 per person.

“The session focused on council meeting procedures, chairing virtual council meetings and managing virtual civic engagements.

“Training materials were provided by the trainer to enable future sessions to be conducted in-house.”

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