Team-building training run recently by Suffolk County Council (SCC) has been criticised by the Taxpayers’ Alliance as “a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money”.
The training, held in March, was designed to prepare staff in departments, such as highways, for a restructuring which took place on 1 April. Apart from work-related sessions, the staff also undertook more light-hearted activities including chocolate-making, drumming, singing and assault course training – the latter at a Norfolk outdoor activity centre. The training cost about £6,000.
“For the ordinary families and struggling pensioners who work hard to make ends meet this is a shocking waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Taxpayers Alliance spokesman Mark Wallace. “Councils never tire of telling us they’re strapped for cash so how come £6,000 could be found for this scheme? People want their councils to focus on services that make a difference not on chocolate making and other absurd activities.”
But a council spokeswoman said: “These activities make up just a small part of the team-building programme, designed to get forward-thinking and motivated staff involved in further improving services. The staff who took part will also be involved in various business challenges related to their own areas of work such as highways and social care.”
The assault course activities cost £197 per person, the drumming £88, the singing £75 and the chocolate-making £150.