Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Grows on Trees..........

a Money Tree Guest post from Morris Hickey

Over on the Red-i Forum Dopeyf reveals [posted 18 November 2008 01:08:53] the result of his Freedom of Information Request – the "You Choose" Redbridge Conversation was 40% over budget.

In the next post down Councillor Bond thinks it was money well spent, but then concedes that "we have not yet seen the Cabinet’s proposed budget". Not that budgets or financial management actually mean anything round here. Cllr Bond then points to a whole load of time and effort from council officers, [that’s unquantified money, or time that could have been spent on something more productive] wasted on trying to progress proposals that were not going anywhere, plus £1.3million paid to consultants on the swimming pool project when they had no idea of where the money to actually build it was coming from.

Elsewhere, through another FoI request that I made [but not as yet published] I learned that the council spent an identifiable £54,750 on the Olympic handover event and the opening of the Redbridge Cycle Centre to which must also be added the cost of officer time.

This is the same council that has cut £1.7million from its budget for the care of vulnerable elderly people and recently attempted to increase their own allowances. They call them "special responsibility allowances". Gross irresponsibility would be closer to the truth.

..........Can I have a cutting?


  1. I have been searching through my emails and I found the expenditure figures for all allotments in the borough (excluding staff costs): in 2007/2008: £58,000 were spent, according to figures provided by the leisure department under FOI. My petty questioning about how this pittance is attributed, erratically, to various sites is what started my being called repetitive! (Which is a nice euphemism for a pain!)
    Now, you have refreshed my ageing memory, now that the Big Conversation is not 'in the way' anymore, my flame has be rekindled.
    Can't wait!

  2. Anne - if your flame has been rekindled then there are a lot of us who cannot wait!

  3. At least we got more entertainment for our pound out of the "Conversation" than we did out of an 8 hour opening of the Cycle Track.I actually went to the opening, and it was quite good, but
    £54,000? does seem a tad excessive, probably more than a tenner a head!


  4. Long suffering and I, attended the full council meeting last night.
    Although a question on the allotment situation was on the agenda, this was swept aside in a regal way and the A word was not heard.
    Swimming pools were mentioned and also Libraries, both the missing one in Seven Kings and the 'threatened' one in Gants Hill.
    The vehicle supposed to give loads of cash to the council was mentioned again but very briefly. So, I have still not a clue what it means!
    However, the 'let's pull together regardless of our party differences' was said again. This time I know it was the deputy leader who said it.
    (She also said that 'we might have to sell a piece of land to build the swimming pool complex. It will have to be an almighty big piece of land.)

  5. Anne - the size of the piece of land could depend on whether the council sticks with the grandiose, ego-trip olympic pool, or whether it goes for something more realistic.

  6. Dear Morris,
    By the time the council gets organised, the Olympics will be a distant memory!
    Is there a gold medal for 'Treading Water'? or 'Going Round in Circles'?