Stat of the day: £4,000

The amount spent by local authorities on calls to the speaking clock.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Workers at councils in the North of England have brought a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘look busy’, racking up £4,000 worth of calls to the speaking clock. Apparently, staff made 12,000 calls to the 31p-a-minute line in two years. Wowza.

Among the worst culprits was Newcastle City Council, which made calls worth £937 in one year, while staff at Durham County Council spent £600 over two years in an effort to look like they were working. Durham’s resources director Don McLure was fairly clear on the council’s thoughts on the issue: ‘There will very rarely be circumstances where it is necessary to access the speaking clock routinely,’ he said. Hmm. Wonder what its redundancy policy will be. Three strokes and you’re out, perhaps? 

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