Highbridge councillor has this week attacked Somerset County Council
for spending £40,000 on a new website that aims to promote
how it is saving money.
councillor attacks County Council over £40k website costs
councillor Helen Groves, right, submitted a Freedom of Information
request to the County Council to reveal its costs of launching
the 'Balancing Act' website.
says she was "shocked" to learn the total cost for tax
payers has been over £40,000 at a time when the County Council
plans to shut vital services such as Burnham-On-Sea's Octopus
Children's Centre, as first
reported here last week.
is an awful irony to spending so excessively on a consultation
about saving money. We are losing services that are vital in maintaining
the health and wellbeing of people in Somerset," Helen told
of the elderly and disabled in their homes has been reduced, support
for special educational needs and youth services has been cut,
while public transport cutbacks have left many in the Burnham
area unable to access services such as colleges in the evenings
or even Musgrove Park Hospital without extreme difficulty."
£40,000+ which has been spent here would not pay for all
of the costs to retain these services, but in such difficult economic
circumstances it is obscene to waste money in this way and if
a more prudent approach were taken across all spending decisions
we wouldn't need to see such losses in public service."
Freedom of Information request revealed the website costs include
contracted staffing (£10,115), promotional roadshows across
the county (£15,671), and design and build of the physical
game plus advertising and agency fees (£15,000).
a spokesman for Somerset County Council has defended the spend,
and explained: "The 'Balancing Act' website is not a scheme
aimed at saving money, it was designed to collect as many views
from the public as possible as we face up to very challenging
financial decisions over the coming months with our income reduced
and our costs increasing."
in Burnham, Bridgwater and across Somerset were enthusiastically
taken up by many thousands of residents, giving the Council a
clear idea of which services the public value most, and where
the Council could bring in charges or hand over to communities
would like to thank all those who have taken part their
views have already been used to shape the Councils high
level County Plan strategic document and also influenced spending
decisions as councillors set this years budget. The entire
exercise was warmly welcomed by politicians of all parties and
we believe it has been the most successful engagement and consultation
exercise the Council has ever carried out."
County Council's Balancing Act website is available online here.