Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 3°C

Search

Suffolk: Authority’s bill for staff trips abroad sees sharp fall

PUBLISHED: 10:42 15 November 2012

Authority cuts foreign travel

Authority cuts foreign travel

ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2008

AN MP has applauded council chiefs for curbing travel expenditure after figures showed the amount spent on staff trips abroad had fallen sharply.

An Ipswich Star Freedom of Information request to Suffolk County Council found workers had made 44 foreign visits to 12 different countries between June 2011 and last month.

Destinations included Austria, Switzerland, Rwanda, Romania and Germany.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said he was pleased more consideration was being taken to reduce unnecessary spending.

Last year, Mr Gummer blasted the council for “frivolous spending” after the cost of trips abroad for the six years leading up to May 2011 amounted to almost £100,000, with the county footing nearly half of the bill.

The latest figures show 16 of the 44 trips were made by Children and Young People’s Services, with the journeys usually being made to help assess children’s care needs.

In one case, two members of staff from the department were sent to Portugal to assess extended family members for a care plan. Similar trips were made to Lithuania and Belgium.

In total, the trips cost the county council £12,329, with an additional nine trips being funded through contributing sources including EU grants. The trips paid for by grants and funds totalled more than £4,300.

Mr Gummer said: “It is heartening to see the county council is getting on top of travel spending and only doing what is necessary.

“I think most people would agree that trips involving the care of children are important and should be taken with care.

“And it is good that almost all of the money being spent on these trips is for important reasons rather than frivolous wasting of money which was seen from previous trips abroad.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “Foreign travel by county council staff is not something that happens frequently; however where it is genuinely necessary to deliver and improve services, it does happen.

“At all times, costs are kept to a minimum and they are very often covered by external organisations.

“It’s important to look at why these trips are, on occasion, made. Sometimes our social workers have to travel abroad to unite vulnerable children with their extended families.

“And sometimes our external funding team travels abroad to secure much needed investment in Suffolk. Any travel will be part of delivering the best possible services for Suffolk.”

The family of a missing Suffolk woman have “serious concerns” about her safety, police have said.

A formation of Lynx helicopters made a stop at Wattisham Flying Station today to mark the end of the aircraft’s distinguished 40-year career with the British Army.

A former head teacher from Saffron Walden who was found with “horrific” child abuse images has avoided jail.

A man from Bedfordshire has been arrested in connection with a ram-raid in Long Melford.

A man and a teenager from Stowmarket have been charged with robbery along with a series of other offences.

More than four thousand people have signed a petition launched by a concerned Mum, urging the county council to scrap a controversial consultation into cutting free school transport.

Ipswich Town Hall is preparing for its 150th birthday with a major celebration at the end of the month.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

London Boat Show 2018

cover

Click here to view
London Boat
Show supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24