Councils’ spending for 2013 revealed

WORTHING and Adur councils spent more than £1.6 million in one year on IT equipment and stationery.

The figures, which have been obtained from a Freedom of Information request, break down council expenditure from April 2012 to March 2013.

Worthing Borough Council spent £746,541.60 on IT equipment and £200,456.35 on buying stationery while Adur District Council bought £497,694.40 worth of IT equipment and spent £232,578.76 on stationery.

To compare with other councils, in the same period, Horsham District Council spent £198,241 on IT equipment and £22,183 on stationary while the cost of IT equipment for Arun District Council was £753,108 including £296,506 capital spend and £39,027 for stationary.

Chichester District Council spent £84,232 on IT equipment and £28,275 from April this year to the beginning of December.

Paul Yallop, leader of Worthing Borough Council, said: “Our spend category is ‘printing, stationery and general office supplies’ so will cover much more than just pens and paper, for example we will have all the printing costs associated with council tax bills, election materials and leisure publications charged against this heading.

“Leisure and theatres in particular has a significant spend against this heading for promotional materials.

“I am advised that some officers are also coding design work here. We run a considerable number of in-house services which are externalised in other councils.

“We have a significant spend on IT this year due to the New Ways of Working project. We have invested in a new network, wireless connectivity, a new data centre, and upgraded equipment, all of which is designed to level a significant annual saving in the next couple of years.”

Councillor allowances and expenses totalled £219, 864.24 in Worthing and £146,088.51 in Adur from April 2012 to March 2013.

Expenditure for councillors in Worthing came to £33,583.48 with £7,765.31 being spent by Adur councillors.

The councillor allowances and expenses for Horsham District Council was £322,515 and £234 was the total expenditure for councillors.

Chichester District Council allowances, expenses and expenditure for councillors totalled £182,895.

Arun district councillor’s expenditure was £474,077.

Cllr Yallop said: “Our allowance per member is still below the average when compared with other councils in the south east.

“The council wishes to attract members of varying ages from all walks of life.

“If the allowances are set too low the members would be just wealthy or retired people.”

Worthing borough officers were paid a total of £26,643.70 to cover their commutes, though it was pointed out that this is a temporary arrangement to reimburse staff relocated due to the closure of Adur Civic Centre.

Adur council staff were paid £17,762.47 while Chichester, Arun and Horsham councils had no costs in this category.

Worthing councill staff spent £25,063.65 on mobile phones while Adur spent £16,709.10 in the same period.

Arun district council’s staff mobile phone bill was £23,120.