Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright has released details of how much he has spent running his office in his first year.
The commissioner spent the astronomical sum of: £885,312.99 on his office between November 2012 and November 2013.
This figure was not pro-actively released by the commissioner, but obtained via a Freedom of Information request I made.
A breakdown of this figure is given and it appears to exclude salaries for the commissioner and his deputy. [See Monday 9 December update, in fact the salaries were included under a bizarre heading of "support staff"]
The costs of these (including employers’ national insurance) are £108,000.00 taking the total to £993,312.99. A further £10,000/year is budgeted for the commissioner and deputy’s expenses, which if claimed would put the total cost for the commissioner’s operation at over a million pounds a year (£1,003,312.99).
p42 of the Police Authority Accounts for 2011-12 (its last full year of operation) show its total expenditure, including members’ expenses and allowances, was £839,000.00.
Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is spending more running his office than Cambridgeshire Police Authority cost to run
Of the £839,000.00 spent by the Police Authority £216,000.00 was spent on members’ expenses, allowances and other costs. Now we no longer have a Police Authority, and there are no members, this money should simply be being saved.
The cost of running the Police Authority’s office was £623,000.00 in 2011/12
whereas Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright’s comparable expenditure was £885,312.99. Police and Crime Commissioner Bright has spent £262,312.99 (42%) more than the Police Authority did on office costs. [See Monday 9 December update, Police and Commissioner Graham Bright actually spent £147,812 (24%) more on office costs.]
In February 2013 Police and Crime Commissioner Graham Bright presented a budget of £749,000.00 for his 2013/14 office costs to the Police and Crime Panel p13 of the submitted budget. The commissioner also allocated £117,000.00 for the Commissioner and his deputy broken down:
|Deputy Cmmr Salary||£28,000|
|Deputy Cmmr NI||£2,000|
|Travel / Conferences etc.||£10,000|
Are Salaries and Costs for the Commissioner and Deputy Included in Released Spending Information?
The only two categories of spending large enough to include the commissioner and deputy salary and national insurance costs are labelled “Hay Related Staff” and “Support Staff” respectively. If the commissioner’s salary is being obfuscated under such headings that would be surprising.
[See Monday 9 December update - the commissioner has clarified the costs were in fact obfuscated in this manner]
The £82,240.22 spent on “Fixed Term Contract Staff” is not large enough for the Commissioner’s £70,000/year salary to be included within that as well as payments to the deputy.
Even if the salaries of the commissioner and deputy were hidden somewhere within the released spending information that would reduce the costs of the commissioner’s operation by around £100,000 leaving his total costs at around £900,000; and his office costs still around £160,000 (~20%) greater than those of the Police Authority.[See Monday 9 December update for more accurate figures]
I hope that councillors, and or the professional press, will join me in trying to obtain clear information on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s spending. I am concerned that it appears the manner in which the Commissioner has released information is intended to obfuscate what is going on. It may be an active attempt to discredit those, like me, who comment on the unclear information while pursuing clarity.
Given the commissioner has accidentally included substantial expenditure in his published spending data by mistake it may be there is confusion and a lack of clarity within his office, and not just in what he is releasing to the public.
I have now sought explicit clarification from the commissioner as to what is included within the information released. I note my original request sought clarity and suggested a breakdown including ” Commissioner and Deputy (incl oncosts and expenses)”.
Police and Crime Commissioner’s Expenses
The Police and Crime Commissioner publishes monthly spending data. As yet he has not released detailed expenses information. The spending data released in response to my FOI request includes lines which appear to be expenses for the Police and Crime Commissioner.
There is £1742.14 worth of spending described as: “Police and Crime Commissioner – Car Allowances Staff”.
I note there are other lines of expenditure described as “Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner – Car Allowances Staff” so it does appear the former relate specifically to the Commissioner rather than his staff.
Other lines in the spending data include £10 of mince pies and £5 of “tea machine coins for PCC visi[t]”
I also noted the Commissioner has paid £18,609.00 towards the 2013/14 cost of ACPO.
Breach of Pre-Election Promise
Prior to the election I asked Graham Bright how much his office would cost given his plans to employ more staff:
Richard Taylor The MEP has just told me your two members of staff, the ones for engagement in Cambridge and Peterborough, will be on top of the staff currently employed by the Police Authority. Is that right? You are going to cost more, your office is going to be bigger, than the Police Authority’s?
Graham Bright It’s going to be less.
Deputy Commissioner Ashton assured his confirmation hearing that the commissioner’s office would cost less than the Police Authority cost.
- Commissioner Graham Bright – Office Costs and Deputy Appointment – December 2012