Cornwall Council is currently in the process of cutting 40% from its budget for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. The Supporting People budget funds services for people who are vulnerably housed as well as projects such as the foyers which provide a roof over the head of young people who would otherwise by homeless.
Yet at the same time the Council found about £5000 to send our Chief Executive on a four day trip to New York for a conference. The details of the event are written up on the West Briton website.
It is right that the Council should make sure that every employee (from the Chief Exec down) is given the opportunity for further development and training, but this should always be on the basis that they will be doing a better job for the council taxpayers of Cornwall as a result. It is not the duty of hard pressed local families to be paying for CV padding.
I don't know the details of what happened on this prestigious US training event, but I understand that Cornwall's Chief Exec was the only public sector person there and also the only person from the UK. I would be interested to hear more about what he learned and what difference it has made to the running of our council. If this spending can be justified then we deserve to know the details.
But even if it is decided that this was a training event of immediate benefit to the people of Cornwall, one has to ask why it needed to be undertaken in America at a cost of around £5000. There are several very good management schools in the UK which run similar courses. Why was one of these not considered more appropriate - especially as it would be more likely that attendees would be networking with those they might actually be doing business with.