Council defends £5k budget for ‘staff recognition event’

November 16, 2015

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has defended its approval of a £5k budget for a staff recognition event to be held next month.

The proposal for the event was made during October’s Strategy, Policy and Resources Committee meeting by DUP councillor William Walker and seconded by Sinn Fein councillor Willie Clarke.

The £5,000 budget was subsequently endorsed at last Monday’s full Council meeting with the event billed as a morale building exercise which would provide an opportunity for staff to get to know one another and to disseminate information in an informal setting.

The Examiner contacted the Council to obtain details of the £5k budget and the nature of the event. We also asked how it could justify such expenditure after recent financial revelations concerning an overnight stay by councillors in the Slieve Donard Hotel had caused public outcry.

A Council spokesperson responded that employee relations were very high on the Council’s agenda and said it was seen as “good practice in both private sector and Local Government to organise activities which improve staff attitude to work and the organisation they work in.”

The spokesperson added that “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has given approval for Staff Recognition events to be held” and said an internal working group will now be set up to consider how this will be developed.