Leigh Redman, Labour County Councillor for Bridgwater South Division within Somerset County Council, has written to the Conservative leader of Somerset Council following revelations about council staff credit card spending.
The full text of the letter is below.
Councillor John Osman
Leader of the Council
Somerset County Council
08 August 2013
Re; Release of FOI data – Council staff credit card expenditure
On Wednesday August 7th the Cheddar Valley Gazette reported that council staff credit card expenditure over a period of 18 months had topped £4.6million.
Requests made under the Freedom of Information act have revealed that over £4.6million was charged to 811 council credit card holders. The transactions ranged from as small as one penny, through to nearly £15,000.
The scale of spending, and in particular through those means, raises some questions about the checks and balances made regarding council staff expenses.
I would be grateful if you could therefore answer the following points;
Is the APR charged on the 811 credit cards less than the cost of processing a monthly expenses system? Please can you provide evidence that those calculations have been done?
The highest purchase made was £14,834.80 on replacement PDAs and tablet PCs for highways inspectors. What considerations were given and quotes sought to find the best value for money before purchasing nearly £15,000 worth of PDA’s and tablet PC’s for highways inspectors? Can evidence of this be released?
What are the criteria within a job description for issuing a staff credit card?
At a time when every household budget is under strain with the rising cost of living and falling wages, families across our county are monitoring their outgoings carefully. I am sure you will therefore be as keen as I to reassure Somerset taxpayers that their money is being spent efficiently and prudently by the council.
Given the public interest in this issue I am releasing this letter to the press.
Cllr Leigh Redman
Somerset County Council member for Bridgwater South,
Sedgemoor District and Bridgwater Town Councillor, Dunwear ward
07971 484039 Facebook HERE Twitter HERE @Bridgwater_Lab
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