Post Comment: Penny-wise, pound foolish
If it was fiction, it might be rejected as too far-fetched.
But the reality is that a team of “business transformation managers”, employed to save money, has cost Birmingham City Council £36,573 in taxi fares.
The cost of chauffeuring these managers across the city will come as a surprise to council staff who have faced pay cuts – or redundancy – as a result of the business transformation programme.
Far from imposing control over costs, the business transformation scheme appears itself to be entirely lacking in supervision.
It must be said that the decision to employ 200 people in the business transformation department, confirmed by the council as a result of our inquiry into expenses, is also surprising.
Efforts to save money can themselves cost money, at least in the short term. They may still make sense in the long run.
But is a team of 200 really needed? One wonders whether the same tough standards are being applied to spending in the business transformation department as in other parts of the city council.
In total, Birmingham City Council’s bill for taxi journeys and private hire vehicles reached £1.4 million last year.
So how many cars were taken, how many staff were involved and where did they go?
Nobody knows. The council officials signing the cheques – on behalf of the taxpayers who actually pay the bills – don’t have the foggiest idea.
Spending has been broken down by council department, so we can be assured that the bulk of the taxi hire fees are paid by the Adults and Communities directorate, which transports elderly people, and adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues to days centres.