Suffolk County Council spent over £1,400 on a set of photographs of its chief executive, it emerged today.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

More than £1,400 of taxpayers’ money was spent on the 40 pictures of Andrea Hill.

The bill for the photographs, taken at the council’s Endeavour House HQ, came to £1,474.74p and was settled in July last year – weeks before the county announced radical cost-cutting plans to shed services.

News of the expenditure follows revelations that more than £12,000 was spent on specialist coaching sessions for he £218,000-a-year chief executive and other members of the corporate management team.

The images of Mrs Hill were supplied to the EDP’s publisher Archant, by Suffolk County Council, last year.

However, it took four Freedom of Information (FOI) requests before the full details of the payments for the pictures emerged. Initially, the authority had denied any money had been paid for the photographs.

Today, opposition councillors questioned why the authority sanctioned spending money on photographs of its chief executive at a time of major budget cuts which have seen funding reduced or withdrawn for a raft of public services including school crossing patrols, libraries, youth clubs and bus service subsidies.

Liberal Democrat leader Kathy Pollard said: “The figures for these photographs are very interesting. I got some photographs taken for various purposes, including sending them out to the media, and that cost me £35 so this is a very large amount. Nearly £1,500 is a ridiculous amount to spend.”

Mrs Pollard said it would have been better for the county council to retain its own photographer instead – particularly given that the council did not actually own the copyright of the pictures.

She added: “People will be asking themselves whether this is a good use of public money.”

A council spokesman said the photographs were taken “for a range of uses including internal communications, external communications and media releases” and were used “as and when required”.

The FOI request shows the council spent a further £7,706.50 with the same company – Bedford-based photographer Robert Johns – for pictures of directors and for work described as “Suffolk Story and Cookbook”.

Meanwhile, between April and December last year the council spent £33,233 on photographs.

This comfortably exceeds the £17,790 paid during the financial year 2008/9 and £17,233 spent in 2009/10.

Earlier this month, it emerged that the county council had paid £12,000 to ‘change coach’ Sol Davidson for 23 sessions with Mrs Hill. Mr Davidson, who was also paid for sessions with council leader Jeremy Pembroke, is said to be an expert in “leading on the edge of chaos” and “converting breakdowns into breakthroughs”.

A spokesman for the council said: “Suffolk County Council has been asked a number of questions about photography since October. In all cases, every effort was made to provide as much information as possible.

“Due to changes in staffing, it would appear that some information was not provided in the earlier responses. We’ve now fully rectified the situation. As is the case with all local authorities, Suffolk County Council receives requests for, and requires, photographs of our senior officers and elected councillors to help demonstrate what the council does and who is involved in doing it. We always strive to keep costs to a minimum and get the best possible value out of the photography we commission.”

17 comments

  • Very good photography, reasonable 'creative' fee, normal practice for the photographer to retain copyright & charge for reprints, but that is not the issue. The issue is one of vanity, the vanity of a grossly overpaid public servant, and should we pay for her to pander to it?

    Report this comment

    peter waller

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • Not copyright holder? why not? If the council person asked for these to be taken the council own the copyright. If the photographer askedoffered to take the photographs heshe owns the copyright. In which case the photographer has no right to ask for payment and this should be refused or refunded if paid..

    Report this comment

    worried

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • "Because I'm worth it!!!"

    Report this comment

    Thoreauwasright

    Friday, March 18, 2011

  • Actually, how did KP get photos for £35. Maybe this is the real story???????

    Report this comment

    carbonatoms

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • believe a nice photo at Waitrose costs less than 5 pounds.

    Report this comment

    sbusa

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

  • its good that every single penny of taxpayers money is spent carefully . Its a pity that labour didnt do the same when in power for thirteen years as the ransacked the goverment coffers of every single penny of taxpayers money leaving the uk bankrupt

    Report this comment

    running bear

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • I think "leading on the edge of chaos" pretty well sums up Suffolk County Council, its staff and councillors.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Friday, March 18, 2011

  • This is a total non-story. I notice that no specific journo wants to put a name to it and who can blame them. £1400 is an entirely normal sum of money for the professional services rendered in this instance and the authors of this piece are perfectly aware of this fact. The world is a competitive place and if the people of Suffolk want Uncle Jim to come over and take some pics for £35 of your head honcho then the rest of the world will view you like you will then deserve. Kathy Pollard may well wish to spend 35 quid but then she will look like she deserves also, which at the moment is someone who wishes to take a cheap political swipe. For what they are they look like good shots, professionally taken with care taken before hand in location scouting, shot using professional equipment and post produced properly. So what do the people of Suffolk get for there £1.4K, well they get images of their appointed Grand Fromage which will serve them and the image of them well and not set your representatives and ergo yourselves to be amateurish on a local, national and international arena. What would you prefer?

    Report this comment

    carbonatoms

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • I am more surprised more at the poor quality of journalism where facts have not been checked, than at the admissions that £1400 was spent on photography. Knowing that the sum of £900 was Paid in 2009 and that Robert Johns did no work for the council in 2010 makes this story a nonsense. That Kathy Pollard paid only £35 for her pictures is obvious from her website, and it was probably the worst value £35 she has ever spent. The lack on knowledge of copyright is worrying on behalf of those commenting, but not as worrying as the apparent made up facts! More about this case can be read here: http:blog.robertjohns.co.uk20110320the-truth-behind-the-portraits-of-andrea-hill I trust that either Robert Johns or the Suffolk County Council put in a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, and take what ever legal redress is open to them from such poor quality reporting. Why oh why do journalists not verify the things that they write? I know they used to

    Report this comment

    Pete Jenkins

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

  • Actually, how did KP get photos for £35. Maybe this is the real story???????

    Report this comment

    carbonatoms

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • I do wish that the EDP would get its facts straight on Andrea Hill's remuneration. Suffolk County Council's accounts for 2009-2010 show that she received a total of £267,775 that year. The excess over the reported £218,000 is the contribution that the Council made to her pension fund.

    Report this comment

    John Martin

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • £75 for photographs £1400 for airbrushing

    Report this comment

    Sherbert

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • @worried "Not copyright holder? why not? If the council person asked for these to be taken the council own the copyright. If the photographer askedoffered to take the photographs heshe owns the copyright. In which case the photographer has no right to ask for payment and this should be refused or refunded if paid.. " Suggest you look at copyright law, because that's absolutely hilarious. Unless there is some sort of contract stating otherwise, with a freelancer, the copyright rests with the creator. Look at The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (section 11 I think). People need to understand copyright instead of bandying the term around and knowing nothing of it. I'd say they got great value for money, a really well taken set of images. If the images of Kathy Pollard found online are anything to go by then she should have invested more than £35, they look awful and it shows that you get what you pay for.

    Report this comment

    Mike Williams

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

  • Rather an ego problem here I feel . I think the time is right for a reality check !

    Report this comment

    SHOOK

    Friday, March 18, 2011

  • what will it be next, I wonder?

    Report this comment

    miss joan

    Friday, March 18, 2011

  • This woman is taking the rise. She needs to be gone!

    Report this comment

    Jacob Burns

    Friday, March 18, 2011

  • "I got some photographs taken and that cost me £35" Was that in one of those photo booths? Professional photos cost more than £35-sounds like a weekend warrior did that photo shoot!!

    Report this comment

    JR

    Friday, March 18, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 14°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT