The cost of an office

At the Corporate Resources OSC held on Friday I asked a question about how much does the office of the Chairman of Cornwall Council cost. The answer from the senior accountant was not sure, but will find out. About an hour later the answer arrived. The cost of the Chairman’s office was £84,000 per year. One role costs the tax payer £84,000. Of course the Chairman does not receive that in payment. This includes £16,000 for travel and £32,000 for Civic functions.

This does not include any extra allowances that the Chairman receives as a member of the Council. The Chairman would receive £12,000 as the basic member allowance and around £18,000 for the role of Chairman. That is another £30,000 if fully claimed.

I am in no way criticizing the current Chairman personally. She does a fine job in representing the Council. My problem is during these tough times of cuts and re-alignment of services I find it difficult to understand how much it costs to run this office. The Cabinet Members (10 of them) have two full-time and one part time PA to help them carry out their roles. The Chairman has two PA’s. Backbench Councillors get no PA support.  As for the Civic Functions I am sure there is room for huge savings there. Do we need to hold so many, as I am sure people will understand if the odd function was cancelled due to the current climate.

If people do think spending £84,000 is value for money on this role then that is fine, and I will respect that. Personally I say it should be scaled down and the money used to protect services that are under threat. For example 1 years Chairman’s office costs equals to the running of a sports centre in North Cornwall.

Of course that maybe seen as a simplistic view and does not take into account that the value the Chairman brings to the Council when she is out there shaking hands and greeting people.

2 comments

  • Anonymous

    Well said!This scrutiny should be applied throughout the council,particularly at top level.I appreciate people are paid according to qualifications,experience and level of responsibility, but a cost benefit analysis would not go amiss.Pay cuts, not job cuts, make sense, as I'm sure most tax payers would prefer to pay those in the public sector to work rather than be unemployed!

  • Jonathan

    Councillors paid according to qualifications and experience? You must be kidding! A newly-elected councillor can be in a top-level SRA post the day after the post-election AGM.

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