Delivering Rich Stevenage Borough Council Pickings
THE fact a council is paying its own officers 17p for every 24-page issue of the authority’s magazine they deliver to residents’ homes is disgusting.
Employees at Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) distribute 35,000 copies of the Chronicle four to five times a year, resulting in an annual distribution cost of up to �29,750.
This is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money. It demonstrates massive overpayment for a task which is essentially straightforward and undemanding.
The fact the council gives this ‘money for jam’ perk to its own officers only serves to add insult to injury.
Taxpayers are paying over the odds for the distribution of a magazine which largely serves as a self-promotion tool for the council, with SBC’s own website stating that it is “packed full with all the latest information about council initiatives and services”.
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Earlier this year the council announced job cuts in a bid to balance its books. It said 20 posts would be axed, resulting in four compulsory redundancies. Sharon Taylor, leader of SBC, also warned at the time: “There’s always going to be a need for savings. We are never going to get out of that, not for the next three years at least.” If this is the case, then why is the council squandering money?
I think SBC ought to slash the pay it offers for the distribution of the Chronicle to a maximum of 4p - to my mind 2p is still reasonable - for every 24-page issue delivered, and the job of delivery ought to be offered to members of the public, not made exclusively available to council officers.
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The council should also launch a drive to promote the magazine as an online feature, and consider the idea of only delivering a hard copy to those who request it.