My colleague Cllr Mark Reen has used a written question (question 18) to confirm that the Labour group abused public money earlier this year to send their political assistant to the Labour Party conference. Ealing residents will only be dimly aware that the council has political assistants. They will be appalled to learn that someone’s council tax has been used to pay the expenses of one of them to go to a party conference. The language of the council’s response is hilariously circumloquacious. Rather obviously it was the Labour group political assistant who attended the Labour party conference.
Does the Council pay for any Officers to attend party political conferences?
This would not be appropriate for most council officers and has never happened, save for one of the councilâ€™s political assistants, who attended the Labour Party conference in September/October 2012. This was authorised by reason that, as part of the employee officerâ€™s performance appraisal process, developmental objectives were identified that would be met in part by attendance at one of the party political conferences.
The same opportunity was offered to the councilâ€™s other political assistant but was not taken up.
How strange? The Labour group PA had unique training needs that required public money to be spent to send him to the Labour conference. The Tory group PA had no such unique training needs and was offered the same deal.
Chief Executive, Martin Smith has made a big error in allowing this I have to say. Council leader Julian Bell should have known better. It stinks. The Labour party in Ealing has a track record of misusing public funds for its own party political advantage. This is just another example.