Sutton Council spends £1,300 on coasters and lanyards a week after telling people front-line services are at risk

Sutton Council spends £700 on lanyards

Sutton Council spends £700 on lanyards

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Just a week after people were warned front line services could be axed in council cuts, it has emerged the council is spending more than £500 on coasters.

Sutton Council said spending £583 on coasters reminding workers of phone and computer protocol and £748 on lanyards reminding workers to put residents first represent good value for money - despite the council last week warning difficult decisions lie ahead as it fights to make savings of £40m in the next four years.

It comes despite warnings from the council leader last week of difficult decisions lie ahead as it fights to make savings of £40m in the next four years.

Last week, Sutton Council launched Sutton's Future, a campaign aimed at letting members of the public influence how savings are made in the next four years.

Council leader Ruth Dombey said the council had made savings of more than £30m since 2011 without affecting front line services, but said further savings are likely to have a greater impact.

Opposition politicians and campaigners are calling on the council to keep a closer eye on its own spending before it cuts services.

One council worker read about his employer's plans to make cuts in the staff newsletter and then turned the page to read about its plans to purchase the coasters.

The worker, who asked not to be named, said: "It feels like they are taking the mick.

"On one page I'm reading a letter from the chief executive [Niall Bolger] talking about how things are going to be difficult and then a couple of pages later I'm reading about them buying a load of coasters.

"It just doesn't fit right."

The coasters are part of the council's 'connect smarter' campaign that aims to make it easier for employers to contact their workmates by making sure they have up to date email signatures and that they log in to the phone system every day.

The lanyards are part of the 'putting residents first' programme that aims to promote the principles of customer service the council wants people to follow.

Councillor Tim Crowley, leader of Sutton's Conservatives, said: "Saving starts at home. There's the old saying 'look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves', and I think that applies here.

"I don't see why people have to have coasters and lanyards to remind them of these things.

"It seems like a waste of money to me and it is a cheek to ask people to accept cuts in services when there are still things like this going on.

"It makes you wonder what else they are wasting money on."

Dia Chakravarty, political director at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Residents will struggle to understand how the council can possibly spend a single penny of taxpayers' money on these coasters and lanyards when its having to make such huge savings.

"Hard-pressed families pay taxes to fund essential front-line services, the council mustn't forget this."

Sutton Council spokesman defended the purchases and said: "We created lanyards and coasters to encourage and remind staff to follow important guidelines.

"These campaigns can make a big difference in improving the service we give at a time when our shrinking workforce is managing around 800 services for a growing population of residents."

"We spent £748 on lanyards and £583 on coasters for our staff and we feel this is a good investment in raising standards and being more efficient."

Comments (11)

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11:49am Wed 16 Jul 14

David7 says...

Remember this when your bins aren’t being emptied every week and the rats and flies abound. Which will happen, I promise.
Remember this when your bins aren’t being emptied every week and the rats and flies abound. Which will happen, I promise. David7
  • Score: 14

11:53am Wed 16 Jul 14

Norm's Mum says...

Hope the people who voted them in are pleased with themselves!
Hope the people who voted them in are pleased with themselves! Norm's Mum
  • Score: 14

2:26pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Sutton53 says...

You get what you voted for. More fool the people who followed the flock and voted for the Lib Dems or didn't bother to get out there and vote!
You get what you voted for. More fool the people who followed the flock and voted for the Lib Dems or didn't bother to get out there and vote! Sutton53
  • Score: 13

3:35pm Wed 16 Jul 14

whysaythat says...

David7 wrote:
Remember this when your bins aren’t being emptied every week and the rats and flies abound. Which will happen, I promise.
Definitely. Bins were missed all over the St Helier last week. Got to say that I agree with Tim Crawley, savings start at base.

The bigger picture that we are not privy to is the money constantly spent on 'expert consultants'.

Extortionate wages, start a project then leave before it goes t☆ts up without a care for residents needs.

The authority is communication heavy,while becoming lighter on services.

The reputation of LB Sutton has gone from pioneering to clueless, soon to be totally laughable.

Will the last person to leave please check their coaster to ensure they turn the lights off on the way out.
[quote][p][bold]David7[/bold] wrote: Remember this when your bins aren’t being emptied every week and the rats and flies abound. Which will happen, I promise.[/p][/quote]Definitely. Bins were missed all over the St Helier last week. Got to say that I agree with Tim Crawley, savings start at base. The bigger picture that we are not privy to is the money constantly spent on 'expert consultants'. Extortionate wages, start a project then leave before it goes t☆ts up without a care for residents needs. The authority is communication heavy,while becoming lighter on services. The reputation of LB Sutton has gone from pioneering to clueless, soon to be totally laughable. Will the last person to leave please check their coaster to ensure they turn the lights off on the way out. whysaythat
  • Score: 5

3:46pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Emily_Brothers says...

Lib Dem Sutton has lost touch with reality. Having cuts spending by £32M since 2010, they now want to cuts services by a further £40M over the next 4 years. At the same time, they continue to make ridiculous spending decisions, such as £583 on coasters reminding workers of phone and computer protocol and £748 on lanyards reminding workers to put residents first. It is a shame that the Lib Dems don’t apply sensible spending protocols themselves, but moreover put residents first.
Lib Dem Sutton has lost touch with reality. Having cuts spending by £32M since 2010, they now want to cuts services by a further £40M over the next 4 years. At the same time, they continue to make ridiculous spending decisions, such as £583 on coasters reminding workers of phone and computer protocol and £748 on lanyards reminding workers to put residents first. It is a shame that the Lib Dems don’t apply sensible spending protocols themselves, but moreover put residents first. Emily_Brothers
  • Score: 6

4:51pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Niki R says...

If the lanyards pictured are those that cost £700 plus, they've been robbed- what a mess they look. This Council is a wasteful and inefficient mess, and those in charge are grossly overpaid when we consider their woeful skills and inability to act. I echo whysaythat's comments above- bin collections were a shambles in St Helier last week, just days after my letter protesting about the raw deal residents there get where services are concerned. I take no pleasure in having yet another example of council neglect in my home ward to chalk up, but rest assured we will be looking for answers on that from the newly-elected, publicly-funded and as yet invisible St Helier Lib Dem Councillors come the next full Council meeting.
If the lanyards pictured are those that cost £700 plus, they've been robbed- what a mess they look. This Council is a wasteful and inefficient mess, and those in charge are grossly overpaid when we consider their woeful skills and inability to act. I echo whysaythat's comments above- bin collections were a shambles in St Helier last week, just days after my letter protesting about the raw deal residents there get where services are concerned. I take no pleasure in having yet another example of council neglect in my home ward to chalk up, but rest assured we will be looking for answers on that from the newly-elected, publicly-funded and as yet invisible St Helier Lib Dem Councillors come the next full Council meeting. Niki R
  • Score: 7

7:54pm Wed 16 Jul 14

adrianshort says...

The coasters and lanyards could be a big waste of money or extremely good value. There's no way of knowing just by reading this story. These items are presumably part of communications/marke
ting projects with their own budgets and aims. You'd have to know how well those projects performed to judge whether the spending was useful or wasteful. If I could spend £500 on coasters to save £5,000 or £50,000 somewhere down the line I'd do it every time. Who wouldn't? The question is: how well did it actually work?
The coasters and lanyards could be a big waste of money or extremely good value. There's no way of knowing just by reading this story. These items are presumably part of communications/marke ting projects with their own budgets and aims. You'd have to know how well those projects performed to judge whether the spending was useful or wasteful. If I could spend £500 on coasters to save £5,000 or £50,000 somewhere down the line I'd do it every time. Who wouldn't? The question is: how well did it actually work? adrianshort
  • Score: -2

3:57am Thu 17 Jul 14

gbzgc says...

Hahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahaha
People of Sutton you deserve everything you get with this as you not only voted the LibDems back in against the country trend but you gave them an even bigger and even more powerful majority. All this despite their clear incompetence and waste on pet projects one after the other.
I am not a betting man but I would put my house on the Life Centre bailout funding continuing probably at the expense of some vital social service somewhere.
These guys don't care about consultation and never had it is a smoke and mirrors exercise.
When will Sutton ever learn
Hahahahahahahahahaha hahahahaha People of Sutton you deserve everything you get with this as you not only voted the LibDems back in against the country trend but you gave them an even bigger and even more powerful majority. All this despite their clear incompetence and waste on pet projects one after the other. I am not a betting man but I would put my house on the Life Centre bailout funding continuing probably at the expense of some vital social service somewhere. These guys don't care about consultation and never had it is a smoke and mirrors exercise. When will Sutton ever learn gbzgc
  • Score: 3

10:08am Thu 17 Jul 14

David7 says...

adrianshort wrote:
The coasters and lanyards could be a big waste of money or extremely good value. There's no way of knowing just by reading this story. These items are presumably part of communications/marke

ting projects with their own budgets and aims. You'd have to know how well those projects performed to judge whether the spending was useful or wasteful. If I could spend £500 on coasters to save £5,000 or £50,000 somewhere down the line I'd do it every time. Who wouldn't? The question is: how well did it actually work?
But why should the council have to continually remind people to do the basics of their job, like turning on their phone? It’s like being reminded to get dressed before you go out in public.

I agree that effective internal comms are an essential management and motivational tool, but this appears to be at the idiotic end of the scale.

If the staff are not up to their jobs and need constant reminders of how to do the absolute basics, replace them.
[quote][p][bold]adrianshort[/bold] wrote: The coasters and lanyards could be a big waste of money or extremely good value. There's no way of knowing just by reading this story. These items are presumably part of communications/marke ting projects with their own budgets and aims. You'd have to know how well those projects performed to judge whether the spending was useful or wasteful. If I could spend £500 on coasters to save £5,000 or £50,000 somewhere down the line I'd do it every time. Who wouldn't? The question is: how well did it actually work?[/p][/quote]But why should the council have to continually remind people to do the basics of their job, like turning on their phone? It’s like being reminded to get dressed before you go out in public. I agree that effective internal comms are an essential management and motivational tool, but this appears to be at the idiotic end of the scale. If the staff are not up to their jobs and need constant reminders of how to do the absolute basics, replace them. David7
  • Score: 3

1:51pm Thu 17 Jul 14

LiberalsOut says...

I have posting on here for years about the wanton waste by this Council
I would not trust them to run a bath let alone spend my(our) money sensibly
Yet the people who vote them in each time must be happy with their money being wasted ???
I have posting on here for years about the wanton waste by this Council I would not trust them to run a bath let alone spend my(our) money sensibly Yet the people who vote them in each time must be happy with their money being wasted ??? LiberalsOut
  • Score: 2

2:57pm Thu 17 Jul 14

MaryKellard says...

So what's happened to good old fashioned yellow (or whatever colour you prefer) REMINDER SLIPS......or are they not technical enough?
So what's happened to good old fashioned yellow (or whatever colour you prefer) REMINDER SLIPS......or are they not technical enough? MaryKellard
  • Score: 0

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