Daniel Martin – Daily Mail Dec 19, 2012
Town halls should stop spending a fortune on expensive leadership training courses run by groups such as Common Purpose, Eric Pickles has said.
The Local Government Secretary called on councils to spend less on the organisation, described as the Left’s answer to the old boys’ network, which provides leadership advice.
He said it was wrong that town halls spent thousands of pounds sending staff and councillors on such courses at a time when front-line services were under threat.
The advice was contained in a booklet, 50 Ways to Save, which includes ideas from Mr Pickles on how to make deeper cuts without affecting public services.
Other ideas include spending less on translating documents, and ending the collection of ‘intrusive’ questionnaires from suppliers and residents about their sexuality and religion.
Mr Pickles said: ‘Every bit of the public sector needs to do their bit to pay off the budget deficit inherited from the last administration.
‘Councils should focus on cutting waste and making sensible savings to protect frontline services and keep council tax down.’
Last month the Daily Mail revealed that Common Purpose had direct or indirect links to three of the assessors to the Leveson inquiry, including Sir David Bell.
He is one of the trustees of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which carried out the botched investigation into child abuse at a Welsh care home which led to the naming online of former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine.
The 50 Ways to Save document says: ‘End expensive leadership courses. Councils could review spending money on sending staff and councillors to expensive “leadership” training courses, such as Common Purpose.
Such training courses can often run into tens of thousands of pounds.’
Mr Pickles also called on town halls to stop spending thousands of pounds translating papers into other languages, saying it encourages segregation.
He added: ‘Similarly, do not give community grants to organisations which promote segregation or division in society.’