It has been revealed that taxpayers have paid £137,000 for staff members at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to take 64 away-days in the past year. There’s a real need to find savings and cut unnecessary spending, but BIS has spent an exorbitant amount on corporate away-days. A shocking £25,000 was spent on a single event, held at the QE2 conference centre in London.
For readers living outside London, the QE2 Conference Centre is across the road from the Department’s huge head offices. Surely they have ample room in their own building to hold events, without having to pay handsomely to go across the road?
A statement from BIS claims that,
"a change of environment can help teams to focus on the objectives of the day, to ensure they are successful. Officials at all levels of the department make every effort to ensure that all such spending is clearly value for money for the taxpayer."
It seems unlikely that there is true value for money in spending so much to send staff members to Kew Gardens and the National Archives, or even to a hotel next-door to BIS, which is where 23 of the 64 away-days since May 2010 were held.
If BIS really cared about giving taxpayers value for money, they would find more cost-effective ways to help their teams “focus on the objectives of the day.” In fact, if finding savings was one of those objectives, maybe they wouldn’t waste £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on corporate picnics.