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Councils spend £1m on stationery

PUBLISHED: 09:08 22 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:09 30 June 2010

Councils in Norfolk are spending more than £1m of your money on stationery every year.

Pens, files, Post-it notes and paper-clips are among products for which local authorities shell out hundreds of thousands of pounds annually.

Councils in Norfolk are spending more than £1m of your money on stationery every year.

Pens, files, Post-it notes and paper-clips are among products for which local authorities shell out hundreds of thousands of pounds annually.

Norfolk County Council alone spends close to £½m on stationery every year - more than a third of the county's total bill of £1.2m.

Spokesman Steven Reilly said that figure covered 12,000 staff in all the council's non-school premises, with a large part of the costs going towards printer cartridges, photocopiers and fax machines.

He added: “A project to find printing, fax and photocopying efficiencies is currently ongoing, looking to reduce both our costs and our carbon footprint.”

The true cost of everyday admin has come to light through a series of freedom of information requests by the EDP. Yet there is a vast differ-ence between the sums reported, with some councils showing bills of more than £150,000 while one claimed to be spending under £8,000.

Officials put this down to differ-ences in the way stationery spending is logged; some authorities include printing and even furniture in those sections of their accounts.

King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council's bill stood at £152,222 last year, up from £120,692 the year before but less than the £188,101 bill in 2004/05. Gareth Evans, its executive director for revenue and customer services, said the sum included items of furniture, computer equipment and promot-ional DVDs. He added: “We are the most efficient district council: our council tax bill has only gone up £6 in six years and that's the lowest in the country,

“Pretty much everything we buy goes through a procurement team, and, with anything we buy over a certain price, we have to source three competitive quotes.”

Elsewhere, Breckland Council's stationery spending last year was £152,598, a sum that has rocketed in the past five years, from £58,356 in 2004/05. But a spokeswoman said the bulk of this was spent on letters sent out relating to council tax and benefits matters and that actual stationery cost around £14,000.

Conversely, Norwich City Council appears to have slashed its stationery bill from £55,112 five years ago to £19,145 last year. A spokeswoman said this was down to a change in the way information was logged.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has cut its stationery expenditure from £13,317 in 200/06 to £7,414 for the first 10½ months of this financial year.

Broadland District Council's bill of £29,736 last year was up from £21,055 three years before.

North Norfolk District Council's bill has hovered at at around £60,000 a year, standing at £58,562 for 2008/09, of which more than £31,000 was paper

South Norfolk Council could not supply recent stationery spending figures, but its stationery and printing bill combined so far

for this financial year is £331,388.

In 2007/08 it was £64,013, with an additional £195,672 spent on print-

ing.


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