Council delivers a restrained but emphatic denial of profligacy in the case of £205 golf spend

The nearest most at Fenland Council get to golf....the disability sports day at Priory Golf Centre i

The nearest most at Fenland Council get to golf....the disability sports day at Priory Golf Centre in Wimblington where the annual Fendis Golf and Fun Day, organised by Fendis and Fenland District Council, is held. - Credit: Archant

COUNCIL chiefs believe a Channel 4 programme depicting Fenland as a perks driven local authority are well wide of the mark.

The district council featured in both national newspaper and TV coverage this week linked to a campaign to allegedly highlight the money spent on “perks and foreign jaunts while axing key services”.

Fenland had featured for allegedly spending £200 on golf lessons – information gleaned under Freedom of Information.

The truth about Fenland Council “ leaving locals teed off with £205 on golf lessons” as the Daily Express put it was less prosaic.

“The voucher for golf lessons was a long-service award for someone who was retiring after working for FDC for 26 years,” said a council spokesman.

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“The award was in line with the council’s long-standing procedures for recognising service of 25 years or more. These stipulate that any employee who qualifies for such an award would receive a gift (not cash) based on an amount multiplied by the years of service that he or she has had with Fenland.

“Employees can identify a particular item/voucher they would like within the value of the award.”

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Finance director Rob Bridge will tell Cabinet this week that “significant organisational efficiency” has been achieved across the council to deliver a balanced budget.

He said: “The savings identified and implemented during 2012/13 have not significantly affected front line services as the council is determined to maintain the quality of these services during these difficult and challenging times.”

In fact the council has even turned in a small but important surplus last year of £25,000 by controlling costs and achieving savings.

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