Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Cornwall Council to spend £22,500 on stopwatches

Cornwall Council's priorities seem utterly at odds with what local people expect them to concentrate on. I have blogged before about the Chief Executive's £5,000 trip to New York and the £50,000 spent backing Plymouth's World Cup bid despite cutting library opening hours, services to homeless people and losing 2,000 staff.

Now a new waste of money has come up. Cornwall Council is advertising for a timing system for eight running and cycle races each year at a likely cost of around £22,500.

As the tender information makes clear, the Council wants to expand to organise more for other people and is hoping to make money from the service.

Yes, it's possible that the Council might be able to turn this into a business that makes a small profit. Even if it does make a profit on paper, does this take into account the cost of staff time and other overheads? But where does this project sit in the list of priorities of what they actually should be doing. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to spend the same amount of money on supporting people services (ie helping homeless people) where £1 spent now will save £5 or £6 in the future?

It's great that there should be sports events including triathlons, road and cycle races in Cornwall. But surely it's not the Council's job to supply the timing equipment or even to organise them. There are plenty of good sports clubs and community organisations that can do that and who should be supported to do so.

Once again, the Conservatives who run Cornwall Council seem to be willing to spend money on fripperies, but not on the services that really matter.

The Council's own tender document states:

Tender Title: Sports event electronic results timing system
Organisation Name: Cornwall Council
Reference Number:GS-CL-EAST001
Contract Type:Supply
Contract Size:20-50K
Short Description: Currently Cornwall Councils Leisure Service organises and manages a number of internal Council run sports events that include the Cornwall ‘Tor’ Cycle Sportive as well as Leisure Centre based triathlons and mass participation running races. In addition, the Leisure Service proactively engages with external event organisers and also commissions external event teams to provide technical event support, as and when required. The Leisure Service is currently looking to improve and develop the existing provision of events in Cornwall. It is viewed that by supporting existing provision and developing new opportunities, this will help to generate additional income and throughput for the Council. To achieve this, the Leisure Service intends to develop an ‘Event Team’. To help the ‘Event Team’ develop this service further, the Leisure Service is looking to purchase an established and reliable system that will provide an accurate record of a participants start and finish time; provide finish line timing for road running and cycling races and mass participation events; as well as cater for multi discipline events such as triathlon and duathlon. Currently the Leisure Service organises approximately 8 internal events that require an electronic timing and results service and the Leisure Service is looking to develop this portfolio of events up to approximately 15 per annum within 3 years. The proposed ‘Event Team’ will support as well as develop a commercial event timing arm that could be hired out to external event organisers.

No comments: