Questions - Extra Mile awards
Council meeting 28 July 2015
Question to the Leader from Cllr Matthew Evans
Subject: Extra Mile awards
As you are no doubt aware, the previous administration stopped the councillors’ annual dinner and replaced it with an event to celebrate the outstanding work of community volunteers and council staff, who had gone beyond the call of duty. The Extra Mile Awards, as it became known, proved an outstanding success with many businesses more than happy to sponsor a table as the event expanded. At its peak more than 200 people attended the celebration at the Celtic Manor at a cost of just over £20 a head which generated an enormous amount of goodwill, at a time of severe financial constraint. I am convinced it would have become self-financing over a short period of time. Even with current costs, to put it into some perspective, it’s roughly equivalent to the cost of one Cabinet member you added for about 12 weeks. Can you tell this Council when the formal decision was taken to stop this prestigious event, the rationale behind this, and do you have any plans to reinstate it, bearing in mind you had already told this council previously, you had no plans to stop it?
May I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his revitalised performance. Since January 2013 to date I have received no questions at Council. I am not clear if Councillor Evans is revitalised after his year as Mayor or as he has been selected to fight the Assembly election.
The difficult decision to reduce expenditure on the Mayoralty and events, including the cessation of the awards ceremony was taken by the Cabinet and Council as part of the budget process last year.
I answered Councillor Ferris in June 2012 saying that I intended to continue with the awards. I did so and was able to continue the awards ceremony until 2014. The Council however took the view as part of the budget round that funding for the mayoralty and events should be reduced as I mentioned earlier and the report showed that one proposal was not to continue with the event.
The public and all members of the Council were consulted on the proposals, as part of the wide–ranging consultation we carried out. There was support from the public for reduction of expenditure in this area.
There were no alternative suggestions to this proposal from Members, nor did it form part of the amendment presented to Council.
It is intended that extra mile awards will be presented at Council and I would encourage any nominations to be forwarded to the Mayor’s Office for consideration.