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Councils should check their membership subs

On Friday I mentioned the challenge that Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell will face at the Local Government Association. To prevent an exodus of members and a collapse of their organisation there needs to be a slashing of costs (by which I mean well over 50%.) There also needs to be some tangible achievements - for example in working with the Government to deliver further localism.

But it is not just the LGA that individual local councils pay hefty subs to. The full list of organisations signed up to should be looked at. Joining the "Association for Public Service Excellence" strikes me as the most desperate box ticking. Those councils that can provide excellence do so - those that can't join APSE. They claim to have over 250 councils as members although this figure may include police authorities, almos, etc. They certainly include several of the worst councils in the land - Haringey, Manchester, Nottingham, Knowsley, South Tyneside. All hand over a fee to be assured of how excellent they are.

Apart from the membership sub there is the opportunity to hand over extra Council Taxpayers money to celebrate "excellence" with awards ceremonies sponsored by Unison!

The group's policy statements are pretty banal but lest there was doubt as to its left wing allegiances here is a tweet to Alastair Campbell from APSE Chief Executive Paul O'Brien:

You were star of the show and in touch with what everybody in local government thinks about cuts and central gov attitude.

This was APSE view from APSEtweets - no disclaimer that it was Mr O'Brein's personal view of Campbell most disgracefully partisan and dishonest attack on the coalition Government.

I don't know if they will tell me who their members are but the transparency requirements for payments over £500 allows anyone to check whether their local council is signed up to APSE.

So we know, for instance, that Rugby, a Conservative council (a Conservative council) paid APSE £2,021 under the category of "Professional Subscriptions" in their April payments. Cheshire East gave them £6,710 last July. Derbyshire have given them money. East Lindsey have given them money. So have Birmingham.

Of course it is not just APSE. How much Council Taxpayers money is being handed over to assorted other deadbeat Leftist fronts?


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