Civil servants' £3,450 bill for 'jazz theory of management'

Civil servants spent thousands of pounds of public money on jazz workshops, Indian head massages and trips to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Newmarket Racecourse, the most detailed breakdown of government spending so far revealed yesterday.

Communities and Local Government became the first department to release details of all spending over £500 as part of a new drive for transparency.

All government departments are going to have to publish details of spending on items worth more than £25,000 from November. But the communities department has gone further and released information about spending on items worth more than £500, because this is the disclosure rule that will apply to councils from later this year

The figures revealed that the Government Offices for the Regions ran up bills of more than £100,000 on market research and polling last year. It also spent more than £1,600 on massages for staff and £539 on an away-day trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

A further £3,450 was spent with Improwise, a company which claims to use a live jazz quartet to "demonstrate a range of skills, techniques and issues in a way which is unusual, inspiring, memorable and always effective".

Local Government Minister, Bob Neill, said: "It seems quite literally that the Government Offices for the Regions were taking the taxpayer for a ride. They were living it up at the taxpayers' expense while thousands of households were struggling to make ends meet."

The department spent a total of £314m in 2009/10, of which £635,000 was spent on taxis and chauffeur driven cars. There was a £16m bill for marketing, advertising, promotion and events and nearly £310,000 on catering and food.

How communities and local government spent its money

£16m marketing

£635,000 taxis and chauffeurs

£310,000 catering and food

£75,000 paid to sculptor Colin Wilbourn for a miners' memorial dedicated to those who worked at the former Lambton Cokeworks in Sunderland

£19,105 flowers and plants for Homes and Communities Agency

£19,000 photography by The Standards Board for England

£17,000 DCLG event at the four-star Rubens Hotel, opposite Buckingham Palace

£13,000 catering commissioned from Manchester United

£8,012 event at Newmarket Race Course for the Audit Commission

£4,076 an event at a luxury family hotel, the Ickworth Hotel in Suffolk

£3,450 improvise live jazz workshops

£1,673 Stress Angels, a company specialising in corporate massages

£626.75 a trip to Attenborough Nature Centre, near Nottingham

£539 an away day to Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager / Estate Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an experienced Resident...

Recruitment Genius: In House Graphic Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An In-house Graphic Designer is required to wo...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Service Engineer - Vehicles

£25000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's premier supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate