Revealed: The £3,000 cost of council award

The team at the glitzy awards ceremony
The team at the glitzy awards ceremony

SCARBOROUGH Council spent more than £3,000 to send staff to a “Oscar” style awards ceremony, the Evening News can exclusively reveal.

The council forked out £3,319 for 10 members of its legal team to attend the 2012 Local Government Chronicle Awards, in London.

The shock revelation, made via an Evening News Freedom of Information request, showed the council paid £1,800 just to visit the awards.

Despite the current austere climate, staff were also handed accommodation at a cost of £750.

And travelling to and from the capital was also accounted for, with £769.50 set aside to ferry representatives to the awards.

In March, the council announced it was set to save a targeted £2.3 million during a five year period.

The authority’s legal team won the Legal Award at the ceremony.

A spokeswoman for the council defended the spending, saying the award success improved the authority and “enhanced the legal team’s reputation in the public sector.”

She added: “As the Legal Services team was shortlisted for this award, greater emphasis was placed on attendance, and because of the achievements of the team in recent years, it was felt there was a good chance of success.

“The award has brought national recognition to the legal team, which has enhanced its reputation in the public sector.

“The enhancement will undoubtedly place the team in an even stronger position to expand its portfolio of external clients, and thus increase supplementary external income.

“Winning the award is also direct evidence of the team contributing to one of the corporate aims – improving the council.”

Cllr John Blackburn, current mayor of Scarborough, praised the legal team to fellow councillors when he was notified of their success.

He said: “This is really like an Oscar for local government and there are council’s all over the country to compete against.”

According to the awards website, the council won the accolade for its “transformation of its legal team.”

Emma Maier, the editor of the Local Government Chronicle, said: “It is testament to the spirit, determination and commitment of local government, and the people who work in it you have continued to innovate and achieve to deliver first-class local services.”