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Nine things we found out about where Norfolk County Council spends your money

PUBLISHED: 10:06 27 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:35 20 January 2017

Trucks drop off waste in the tipping area at SITA UK's energy-from-waste facility in Great Blakenham.

Trucks drop off waste in the tipping area at SITA UK's energy-from-waste facility in Great Blakenham.

Almost £300,000 for Suffolk to burn Norfolk’s waste and thousands of pounds in payments to the company of the new children’s services boss - Norfolk County Council made 17,400 payments worth £72m to 1700 companies in October.

You can search the table on our website to find out who got your money and what it was spent on in October.

Here’s what we found out.

1) Old consultant, new boss

The new interim boss of the council’s troubled children’s services department has been working as a consultant for the council for a year.

Andrew Bunyan’s company, AB Development and Consultancy Solutions Ltd, was paid two payments of around £1,600 in October for previous months’ work. The work is listed as “HR Training”.

We reported at the end of November that the former Derby City Council and Leicester City Council director had been providing mentoring services to the council for the last six months, but the payments suggest he has been invoicing the company for almost a year before he was appointed.

The council said Mr Bunyan carried out “leadership and development consultancy work” from December 1 2015 to November 15 2016 which totalled £21,533.

Mr Bunyan replaced Michael Rosen as the head of children’s services in November.

2) Lots of interest

More than £7m of taxpayers’ money was spent in October paying off interest on council loans. The council paid £7.1m on servicing loans from the Public Works Loan Board.

The cash is used to improve schools and roads, the council said. The Public Works Loan Board is a Government institution which lends money to local authorities.

3) The NDR millions

Norwich’s Northern Distributor Road (NDR) was the second biggest single cost at the council in October. The council spent £7.4m on its construction - as well as £4,350 looking for unexploded bombs on the route.

The £7.4m went to Balfour Beatty which has the contract to build the 12.5-mile road from Postwick to Taverham. The road’s total cost is £178.5m.

4) Adult social service’s temporary chief

Norfolk’s cash-strapped adult social services department spent £27,000 in two months on an interim chief.

The council paid recruiter GatenbySanderson Ltd the money for an “interim head of operations” for the department’s learning difficulties post.

The money was for work in July and August. The council said it split the cost equally with the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust.

The post has been filled on an interim basis since August 2015.

The current interim post holder is on secondment from within the County Council and has been in post since September this year.

5) Health pay

Consultants from KPMG were paid £188,000 in the month to help the council and Norfolk health chiefs draw up plans to radically change our NHS.

The council and NHS leaders submitted the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) at the end of October. It outlines how they will save around £300m from the NHS and keep patients out of hospitals.

A council spokesperson said: “This ambitious work requires us to call on the best available expertise.”

KPMG were brought in to help in August for 10 weeks so the proposal could be submitted to NHS England by the October deadline.

6) Council’s own companies get most cash

Two of the four biggest beneficiaries of council cash were two council owned firms, Norse Care and Norse Eastern.

Norse Eastern provides services across the council from cleaning buildings to catering. They got £1.6m in the month

Norse Care, which got £2.6m, making it the second biggest beneficiary after Balfour Beatty, runs care homes.

7) Money to burn

Norfolk is giving Suffolk lots of cash to burn its waste.

Suffolk County Council was given almost £300,000 by Norfolk in October to take waste at the Sita incinerator at Great Blakenham.

Norfolk has a contract with Suffolk running from 2014 to 2020 to dispose of 40,000 tonnes of rubbish a year. This came about after plans for an incinerator at Saddlebow near King’s Lynn were scrapped.

8) Council pays council tax too

There might be controversy about raising council tax, but any council taxes also have to be paid by the County Council. Business rates and council tax cost them £28,545 in October.

9) £10,000 for ‘improvement advisor’

A company called Panoramic Associates was paid more than £10,000 in October to supply an “improvement advisor” for the children’s services department.

The advisor helped develop the department’s new Looked After Children’s strategy.

The council said the strategy was “extremely extensive in its scope and scale”.

Local authorities are required to publish every payment they make over £500 on their websites each month.

Councils also publishes transactions made on the Government Procurement card which public sector organisations use to pay for cheaper items.

We’ve taken that data and made it into a searchable table on our website which we will update each month.

It means you can find out where your money has been going by searching the table for a particularly area of spending or for a company name.

•Data taken from the Norfolk County Council website correct as of 9.12.16

•Do you have a story which needs investigating? Email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772834

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