Shepway District Council Spend Data Under the Magnifying Glass.

A picture they say, is worth a thousand words, well we have seven pictures/graphs for you. All these graphs are made from Shepway District Council’s payment to suppliers covering the period April 2012 – Sept 2016. So 54 months, or four and half years, worth of data.

Graph 1 overall-spending1

So SDC have spent £123.32 million and their average spend is £ 2.28 million pounds per month. Why did SDC spend over six million in May 2016? And on what did they spend it? We don’t know. Is there a plausible explanation?

Graph 2


We can see a growing reliance on temporary staff  costs with significant rises in payments from April 2015. The largest recipient of monies from SDC for temporary staff is Recruitment Solutions (Folkestone) Ltd. We know over the last few years there has been a mass cull of permanent staff by SDC to save on ‘costs’.

Why have SDC become so reliant on temporary staff?

Graph 3


We have spoken about the SDC’s B&B bill several times before but how and why has it jumped from a mere £950+ bill in April 2014, to just over £78,000 in May 2016?

Graph 4


These are the suppliers who received much of that £1.755 million. The Salisbury Hotel has now closed and was sold in the latter part of 2015.

Graph 5


We do not know what Miscellaneous Contract Payments means. It is that non-descript bureaucratic language so loved by civil servants, which is vacuous and tells you nothing. But £33.429 million surely deserves a much clearer explanation, wouldn’t you agree?.

Graph 6


This should be pretty self explanatory. This is who SDC pay out money to for supplies and services. The top 20 suppliers have received 66.5% of SDC’s £123.32 million between April 2012 – Sept 2016

Graph 7


Here are the top 20 small suppliers – defined as suppliers not billing more than £1,000 at a time.

If these graphs raise any  questions for you, please do email the following people for an explanation.

Chief Executive SDC – Alistair Stewart –

Finance Officer SDC – Tim Madden –

Elected Leader of SDC – David Monk –

Cabinet Member for Finance – Cllr Susan Carey –

Leader of the Opposition – Cllr Len Laws –

or you can write to your SDC Cllr for your ward asking them to make sense of SDC’s spending behaviour. Their details and email addresses can be found here.


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5 Comments on Shepway District Council Spend Data Under the Magnifying Glass.

  1. Are Melzone still in buisness? A good bleach it must be said but they are no longer at their historical premises. Are Shepway paying for an imagined supply, or have Melzone re-located?

  2. “Miscellaneous Contract Payments ” look awfully like laziness in allocating invoices ?

    One would think that an SDC factotum would be able to create cost centres and then allocate invoices correctly.

    Although I presume it is more likely that the SDC factotum is working his/her way to promotion by applying the Peter Principle..

  3. Meldrew, I know you have quoted the ‘Peter principle’ before. In my foginess I have forgot.

    Please be kind enough to re- state the details that this principle entails,

    Kind regards

    • In a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their level of incompetence.

      Therefore; as people are promoted, they become progressively less-effective because good performance in one job does not guarantee similar performance in another…

      Dr. Peter observed that in most companies, team members are rewarded for their high performance with a promotion, but if they under-perform in the new role, they are rarely demoted. Instead, companies try more training, smaller teams, or hiring assistant managers to help—all of these in order to avoid facing the painful admission that the promotion wasn’t really the best decision. The team found that any time that the competencies required in one level of an organization were not the same as the competencies required to perform well at the level below, the newly promoted would find themselves facing the possibility of their incompetence.

      Not everyone in SDC is incompetent; I knew several members of staff in the distant past who are/were really good at their job(s) and yet did not get promoted because their “face did not fit”.

  4. Could the miscellaneous contract expenses of £33 odd million in May possibly include the purchase of agricultural land at higher than market value in the Sellindge/Lympne area?

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