Fife Council recently published “Councillors expenses for 2008/09″ [sic]. Although this is never going to be as exciting as recent revelations about MPs’ expenses, or even MSPs’ expenses, it is maybe still worth analysing a bit. If you download the Excel file of expenses, you’ll see it’s been formatted for print, with the page header repeated about half-way down, presumably where the page break occurs. For some reason, in Open Office, the council logo is reversed.
Anyway, rather than try and read through a spreadsheet of numbers, I’ve tried graphing some of the data. Please click on the graphs to see each fullsize.
Since the last local authority elections in 2007, councillors have received a salary and not just expenses. Heads of committees, the provost, etc. receive a higher salary.
For some reason Margaret Kennedy received a marginally smaller salary than her colleagues; £15,445.24 instead of £15,785.73.
This first graph shows all councillors. You can see the long tail effect, with several councillors claiming zero travel expenses. These travel expenses do not include rail, air or taxi fares. The mileage rate is 40p per mile, reduced from 49.3p.
Unfortunately Google Docs saves the image without all names visible. So this second graph shows just the top 30 names.
For Councillor McMullan to claim £6993.64 in travel expenses, at 40p per mile, he must have driven 17,484.1 miles in a year. I’ve no idea if that is reasonable. He lives in Crossford, approximately 24 miles from Glenrothes. If we divide 17,484.1 by 48, we get 364.252083. In other words, if he was only doing the return drive from his council ward to the council headquarters, he’d have to make that journey every day for a year to justify his travel expense claim. However he must do lots of other mileage besides, e.g. driving round to various locations in his ward. I’d still be interested to find out more about exactly what mileage he claimed for. For example if we could see his daily mileage claims instead of just an annual total.
Only 8 out of 78 councillors claimed any ICT expenses. The spreadsheet says “Communication and IT Costs, Mobile Phone Costs and Provision of Council Cars borne by Fife Council is not generally a cost incurred directly by individual Councillors.” I’m therefore unsure what William Walker managed to claim £670 pounds for. If full receipts were published this would clear things up.
Rail / Air / Taxis / Hotels
Less than a third of councillors claimed for this.
You would expect the council Leader Peter Grant to have the highest claim, on the assumption he’s representing the council at national and international events. Second highest is Mike Rumney (listed as Robert Rumney on the spreadsheet), with a claim of £1,241.31. Again, without more information, it’s impossible to tell how this money was spent.
Again, Google Docs produces an image without all names visible:
And here’s the top 30 names. Gerry McMullan clearly with the highest expense claims due almost entirely to his high travel expenses.