Seldom can a day go by without a conference somewhere in the United Kingdom full of councillors whose hefty fees and travel expenses have been funded by their Council Taxpayers.
My email box gets clogged with invitations. What about a conference organised by a group called CSS? It is on the theme "Managing Today. Shaping Tomorrow." The "keynote speaker" is Lord Hunt, the Deputy Leader of the House of Lords. Perhaps an even greater attraction is that it takes place at The Belfry Hotel and Golf Course. The cost to the Council Taxpayer is £399 for every councillor and council officer who tees up.
One would hope that the Local Government Chronicle would expose this sort of nonsense. But the trouble is they are cashing in themselves. Here's another email. Would I like to attend a conference organised by the Local Government Chronicle about "the changing demands of overview and scrutiny." ("Scrutiny is very much the lion that hasn't roared," John Denham Communities Secretary.) I could listen to the Regional Scrutiny Manager of the West Midlands Regional Assembly, the Interim Head of Overview and Scrutiny for Hackney Council, the Local Government Minister Rosie Winterton and many more. I think if I did so I would lose the will to live. I would also lose the decent, hard pressed Council Taxpayers of Hammersmith and Fulham the sum of £599.
So I think I will give it a miss.