Axe falls on mayoral service in latest budget saving cuts

This year's mayor Helen Mallory
This year's mayor Helen Mallory

Visits by Scarborough’s mayor could be capped while sponsorship may be offered on the mayoral car as the council looks to make savings on civic functions.

A report to be considered by Scarborough Council’s Cabinet next week suggests the number of events which the mayor attends using the chauffeur-driven car be limited to 250 a year.

The move is being propsed to minimise the cost of the external mayoral chauffeur service, which is due to be renegotiated having been capped for five years.

The report, produced by the authority’s policy and performance manager Andy Layton, states: “Potential savings were identified from the Mayoral budget and there are risks that, if the recommendations are not accepted by members, no savings on the mayoral budget will be achieved which will result in savings required to be found from other areas of the council’s budgets.”

Research undertaken by a task group set up to review the mayorality service found that over a 12-month period, from April 2011 to March 2012, 458 events were attended by the mayor and deputy mayor, 327 of which required the used of the chauffeur driven car.

The current cost of the chauffeur service to the council is £37,000 irrespective of how many functions are attended. The contract was due to expire in April this year however it was extended pending the outcome of a report by the Resources and Scrutiny Committee, aided by the task group’s review.

It is felt that after four years of being capped the renegotiated cost would increase significanlty, however the committee believes that by capping the number of trips a better deal may be reached.

The report proposes that the mayor only attend events where they fufill a role/purpose, not just as a spectator. It states: “It is recognised that individual mayors may wish to attend a greater number of events and be prepared to make their own transport arrangements.”

The Resources and Scrutiny Committee also recommends the cabinet approve investigations into sponsorship of the mayoral car and the potential for sponsorship of events.