Call for review of £145,000 subscription fees paid by Bradford Council

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Councillor Glen Miller Councillor Glen Miller

Opposition councillors are calling for a review into how much Bradford Council pays for subscriptions to outside bodies.

But the authority’s Labour leadership claims it has already done a cost-cutting review and the Conservatives’ figures are out-of-date.

In 2011/12, the authority shelled out almost half a million pounds – £487,791 – on memberships of various bodies, such as the World Union of Wholesale Markets, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Royal Forestry Society.

While the 2012/13 figures have not been released, the cost for this financial year so far is £145,053.

Now the Conservative group is calling for a review of the situation, and called into question the benefits of being members of so many bodies.

Its leader Councillor Glen Miller said, “I recognise that some of the subscriptions are likely to be essential, but at a time when the Council is looking to reduce expenditure and protect front line services, expenses such as these need to be carefully deliberated.

“Do we receive benefit to the tune of £82,000 from being a member of Local Government, Yorkshire and the Humber? Do Children and Families Across the Borders and the Commonwealth Youth Exchange warrant £1,300 per year?

“Why are we a member of the Northern Housing Consortium and is £20,000 to belong to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors money well spent?

“The answer to these and many other questions may support the fees, but we need to be sure that these figures are being properly reviewed and it would be interesting to see if the total has decreased in recent years.”

But Councillor David Green said a full-scale review had already been held, which led to huge savings.

He said: “We took action on this nearly two years ago revealing the spending we inherited from the last Conservative Council. These are the figures Coun Miller is quoting and we have made some big savings since, keep subscriptions under constant review and continue to actively seek to reduce costs, so Coun Miller’s call is somewhat late in the day.”

“Some subscriptions pay for training for staff caring for vulnerable adults and children, others save money by eliminating reliance on external advisors or giving access to national procurement agreements.”

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