Cash-strapped Derbyshire County Council spends nearly £220,000 on award ceremonies

Derbyshire County Council's Matlock headquarters.
Derbyshire County Council's Matlock headquarters.

Derbyshire County Council spent almost £220,000 on award ceremonies in the last three financial years, according to a new report.

The Tory-controlled council forked out £218,483 on award events for long-serving employees between 2015 and 2018 - the highest in the country.

The report - compiled by the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) pressure group using data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act - said the authority's spending was more than 12 times the national average and £14,658 more than all Welsh councils combined.

A spokesperson for the council said: "These figures relate purely to our staff long service awards and we now spend less than half what has been reported.

"Derbyshire is one of the biggest council employers in the country with around 12,000 staff.

"Having a loyal and dedicated workforce saves us a lot more money in recruitment than the cost of these awards."

The council needs to make a further £70million of cuts over the next five years, taking the total it has saved since 2010 to £327m.

According to the TPA's report, the UK’s local authorities spent a total of £6,593,523 on award ceremonies at an average cost to the taxpayer of £18,064 per council.

A total of 13 authorities spent more than £100,000 on supporting award ceremonies while 65 spent nothing.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Families in the UK who work hard to pay for their council tax will be disappointed to discover that so many local authorities are still spending money on unnecessary extravagances.

"There's nothing wrong with congratulating staff who work hard or celebrating local businesses, but councils should prioritise the essential services that they are paid to provide.

"It's encouraging to see that so many councils were successful in negotiating sponsorship arrangements to pay for some ceremonies. All local authorities in the UK should seek to do the same."

How much our other councils spent on events between 2015 and 2018

• Erewash Borough Council: £14,649.08

• Chesterfield Borough Council: £9,543.90

• North East Derbyshire District Council: £8,730.66

• High Peak Borough Council: £6,158.00

• Derbyshire Dales District Council: £847.53

• Amber Valley Borough Council: £0.00

• Bolsover District Council: no response