Salford City Council HR official involved in £70,000 expenses row

A senior HR official at Salford City Council has become embroiled in a £70,000 expenses row after he claimed for 80 toy men to use as props in a training exercise.

David Horsler, assistant director of HR, spent £163.91 on the Hair-ee Magno Man rope figure toys, with magnets for hands and feet, to use in classroom-based training.

His claim was exposed after Manchester Evening News revealed 18 top officers and two leading councillors claimed £68,768 over the course of 2008-09.

The expenses, classified by the council as “corporate costs” separate to the personal expenses claims and allowances officials make, were run up on bank purchasing cards.

The claims included a restaurant bill of £846, and claims for luxury hotels and first class train travel, including one receipt for £591 on train tickets for three council delegates to attend a government conference in London on unemployment. Officials also used the money to recruit staff, the paper reported.

The council has agreed to publish bank statements detailing each transaction after the local paper was leaked a table of expenditure using the cards over the past year.

Councillors’ normal annual allowances and expenses are already published on the council website.

A council spokesman told Personnel Today the Magno men were a “valid expense”, stating the toys were “re-usable and available to any city council employee who needs them if they are delivering training”.

He added: “The corporate costs incurred were for a range of all sorts of things, for example the procurement of staff. The claims were for corporate costs, the officials were not buying something for themselves.”

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