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
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss