Over the weekend, several newspapers reported about Scottish councils spending £2 million on airfares, during a three-year period, some to exotic destinations. It’s always important that councils justify every penny of council-taxpayers money they spend. Even more so, when money is spent on flights to places like Australia and South Africa. I am dubious about the value of sending councillors or officers to far-flung places, for a conference or “fact-finding” trip. Of course, the trip will be justified as providing a particular benefit or opportunity for the council but I doubt there is any real assessment of return on the investment.
There was no mention of Highland Council in any of the reports. Neither is there any detail published within the Freedom of Information section of the council’s own website. Incidentally, there is no detail online for any Freedom of Information request published after February 2011. I have asked council officers to release this information so that councillors and residents can also scrutinise the details themselves. Of course, that sort of information should be published routinely for public scrutiny anyway.