Yes, Council Officers were paid to go to Canterbury & Bath to escape from an escape room.
What Is An Escape Room?
An Escape Room Is A 60-Minute Real-Life Adventure Game.
You and your team will assemble in a themed room and will have one hour to complete your mission and “escape” the room.
Beating an escape room requires teamwork, speed, creativity, and patience. Escape rooms are perfect for family vacations, corporate team-building, or just having fun with your friends.
On Jan 9th 2020, Folkestone & Hythe District Council paid £492 for a unknown number of council officers to attend Northgate Training Games in Bath in the county of Somerset. To escape an escape room.
Northgate Training Activities based in Bath, is the leading developer of interactive and participative (learning by doing) team training games, training activities and business simulations for Trainers. “Learning by doing” is their motto/mantra.
So Council officers went to the Georgian house (pictured), in Bath, to learn by doing. England have tried this with penalty shoot outs and that has always ended in tears. But that aside, we are unsure if the council officers escaped and returned to the council to put their “experiential learning” into practice.
On the 7th Jan 2020, the Council finance department authorised a payment of £72 for three council officers to hot foot it to Canterbury on the 21st Feb, to escape the Comms Room at One Pound Lane, Canterbury (image above).
THE COMMS ROOM – WW2 ESCAPE EXPERIENCE
A dramatic and high tension experience with chaos unfolding around you as if in your own blockbuster movie!
You’re thrown in at the deep end to replace the recently deceased former Air Raid Warden Mr Parsons. Your job is to defend Canterbury from a barrage of air attacks by deploying air defences and performing your duties, all the while unravelling the mystery of an unknown traitor sabotaging your every step.
KEY SKILL: Teamwork
The Comms Room is set within an original WW2 comms room never before open to the public.
The Council still haven’t signed off their Value for Money (VfM) audit for 2018/19 and perhaps their 2019/20 VfM audit might come under some real scrutiny.
Other peoples money, all £564 of it has been spent on people learning to do, while others have hopefully learnt to communicate better and be as one, at the ratepayers expense.
Moving swiftly on, the finance department authorised expenditure of £532 on the 21st Nov, for 32 officers to enjoy an away day, with tea/coffee/biscuits and lunch at the Burlington Hotel, Folkestone. We know these 32 council officers drank and ate, what else they did is not known yet.
The Council paid TOG, The Office Group £1,044 for use of two rooms between 10am and 14:00 on the 24th Jan 2020. Location unknown, and purpose of away day is not yet known.
And to round it off, an officer slummed it at the four star Abode Hotel in Canterbury, costing £119 for Bed & Breakfast, and £19 for parking on the 5th March 2020, at the Abode Hotel, Canterbury (pictured).
All this happened in 2019/20 after our are freshly elected Cllrs came into power on May 2nd 2019.
The total expenditure of £2,648.38 on officers away days in 2019/20, is three times more than the Alistair Stewart, (previous Chief Exec) £320 RockSalt dinner and Jeremy Chambers two lunches at Blooms restaurant, totaling £336.26 (pages 21 & 23); which happened in 2015/16. This was the year 1,801 households were sent summonses to attend Court for non payment of Council Tax.
We’re not sure if the officers have escaped Bath and Canterbury escape rooms, nor if the officer slumming it at Abode has left the bed. But we are sure 32 officers were fed and hydrated, while the rest got together in an unknown location, to do unknown things; and use other people’s money to do it.
All material in this blog post was provided to our public face during the time the accounts were open for inspection
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is Essential in Any Democracy