Suffolk: After Andrea Hill’s coaching sessions, new �30k guru pot is revealed

SUFFOLK: A total of nearly �60,000 of tax-payers money had been budgeted on coaching sessions at Suffolk County Council, it has been revealed.

It was The Evening Star’s revelation that more than �12,000 had been spent on 23 sessions with a professional coach for chief executive Andrea Hill that led to reporter Paul Geater being told that the council would not comment to him – a ban that has not been implemented.

Last week the Star revealed that Mr Davidson had been paid �12,075 for the coaching sessions with Mrs Hill.

His work with other senior council staff and senior councillors brought the total paid to him up to �27,000.

Now in a letter sent to Conservative councillors in Suffolk, deputy leader Jane Storey has confirmed that Mr Davidson’s company – DNA (Davidson, Nicklen and Associates) – was budgeted to be paid �30,000 during the current financial year to prepare for the council’s new strategic direction.

Opposition leader Kathy Pollard said the �30,000 approved for DNA last year had been one of three consultancy budgets that had been called in for discussion at a full county council meeting by her Liberal Democrat group.

She said: “We were concerned about the amount of money being spent by the council on consultants and asked for the debate at the county council – but the administration was able to use its majority to get it through.”

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The Star reported at the time on the arguments at the council when the �120,000 costs of three consultancy firms were discussed on the floor of the council.

During that debate Mrs Storey said: “This is a tiny proportion of the county council’s budget. In fact it is such a small proportion that the sum involved could be spent at the discretion of the chief executive.

“But we felt it was right to be open and transparent and bring it to cabinet. That was the right decision and the council should now go ahead with this.”

n Is the council right to spend tens of thousands of pounds on training when services are facing cuts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk