CHESHIRE West and Chester Council’s spending on membership subscriptions to professional bodies appears to have gone up by £90,000.
A Freedom of Information response reveals the council spends £303,382 per year on such fees compared to £213,000 when the same question was asked in December 2009.
However, a council spokeswoman said the authority’s spending in this area had not risen by £90,000, it was just that the FOI process was more rigorous than previously.
The largest individual annual fee of £79,200 goes to the Local Government Association (LGA) – the voice of local government in the national arena.
Most councils are members of the LGA in England and Wales whose role includes lobbying Government for extra resources, promoting best practice and protecting the reputation of local government generally.
The council considers the amount spent on subscriptions to various professional bodies equates to a tiny proportion of the total budget and represents good value for money – both for the authority and its council tax-payers.
The FOI response shows CWaC also spends £86,000 with four IT support groups which includes membership costs, conferences and training.
The Keep Britain Tidy Network, which provides expertise on best practice for promoting a cleaner environment, receives £4,499.
Chester Archaeological Society is paid £20 so that the council can keep fully informed of discoveries within Cheshire West and the wider region. The council is also a member of the CCTV User Group which for £275 allows best practice to be shared in the interests of the authority and the public.