I do like a nice pen and I was lucky to be given a very nice Cross Pen for Christmas last year. At Barnet Council they also like Cross Pens. I don't know how many they ordered - because that is commercially sensitive (WHY?) but I do know they spent £2,304 (inc VAT) on them last year. As I understand it they were given out to staff as part of the London Borough of Barnet Value Awards scheme. Now it may be that these pens have been cherished by staff and if that is the case then fantastic but they appear to retail, when engraved, at around £30 a pop. Maybe the Council got a good deal and got 100 of the pens but maybe there are more effective ways to engage and motivate staff than giving them an engraved pen - like treating them fairly and not making them redundant. Any staff who received a pen and would like to give their views I would be more than happy to publish them.