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Suffolk: Authority's total bill for guru more than £27k

PUBLISHED: 14:50 05 March 2011

Andrea Hill in Winston  Hall giving a talk about spending cuts.; EADT 18.1.11

Andrea Hill in Winston Hall giving a talk about spending cuts.; EADT 18.1.11

Archant

SUFFOLK: The county council has spent more than £27,000 on management coaching sessions for authority bosses since 2008.

Yesterday the Evening Star revealed £12,075 of the public’s money had been used to pay for chief executive Andrea Hill’s 23 sessions with professional “change” guru Sol Davidson.

And now we can reveal Mrs Hill, council leader Jeremy Pembroke and the authority’s corporate management board received a total of 53 sessions, bringing the bill to £27,825.

The cited board is thought to include council directors Andy Fry, Anna McCreadie, Lucy Robinson and Graham Dixon.

The council said it hired Mr Davidson to “establish an effective, collegiate style of working” and for “teambuilding to weld the cabinet and corporate management board into a single effective unit”.

These sessions lasted between one hour and an hour-and-a-half and cost £525 plus VAT each.

Suffolk County Council has refused to comment any further on the authority’s expenditure on coaching with Mr Davidson.

In addition, a spokesperson said any more details on the subject can only be obtained through a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

However, the authority on Thursday defended using the guru’s services.

A spokesman said the sessions were in line with “training normally provided to senior officers”.

On a webpage about Mr Davidson, his work is described as “helping those brave enough to step into leadership positions to reinterpret many of their experiences and in doing so liberate themselves and their organisations into much higher levels of 
performance and capability”.

Sandy Martin, leader of the Labour Party in Suffolk, said spending thousands on a coaching sessions for council bosses showing “poor judgment”.

He said: “I think people will be very angry about this.

“They face losing vital services and learning how much the council has spent on coaching sessions won’t give them confidence in the authority.

“The Conservative administration doesn’t seem to realise how important front-line services are to the people of Suffolk.”

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