Thursday, 13 June 2013

£3,400 booze up paid for by Barnet Ratepayers

The Claddagh Ring Pub, located close to Hendon Town Hall, hosted an event on 26 April for the Revenues and Benefits staff who will lose their jobs when (if) Capita take over. Having seen the pub's name in the suppliers' payments list I requested a copy of the invoice under FOI and today it arrived (See opposite)  The invoice is referenced "Barnet Council Event" and which states that the £3,400 was for "Food and Room Hire" - no mention of drinks, I note.  ( I have edited the pub's sort code & bank account number btw). This was authorised by the Head of Revenues & Benefits and described as a team building exercise. In the supplier payments it is categorised as training.

Now, the reports I have had from staff who were at the event say that there was a free bar and that staff were led to believe  that the Head of Revenues and Benefits, who is a consultant/interim, and another consultant would be picking up the bill. Some staff are indeed very upset that Council money was spent on the event and would not have participated if they had known it would be billed to the Council.

Looking at the Claddagh Ring's website it mentions that finger buffets start  at £7.95 per head with the deluxe buffet at £19.95 per head. Given that there are only 126 FTE staff (so maybe 150 in total) that works out at  over £22/head. From what I hear there was a little food available but the main incentive appeared to be a free bar.

I have no problem with team building events as such and have been on many in my former corporate days - but they were not paid out of the public purse at a time when all budget are being cut. I think it is also offensive to the staff to mislead them about who was paying for the event. This shows a serious error of judgement and needs to be investigated further.

Come on Richard Cornelius tell me this £3,400 booze up was not paid for by ratepayer.


  1. Perhaps, Mr Reasonable, we should put in an invoice to cover the Barnet blogger tab round the corner at the Greyhound? Now that might cause even our friends at Grant Thornton to raise an eyebrow ...

  2. Since it was tagged as "training" i guess it was reduced from the £500 training package per employee "granted" by crapita?

  3. This explains why John Gregson departed Barnet for good