'Tool for budgeted spending'
THE use of staff credit cards clocking up a whopping £4.6 million bill has been defended – and actually made money – for Somerset County Council.
A spokesman for the authority said: "A credit card is a far cheaper and efficient way of buying goods, particularly for our schools, children's centres and other local offices which make up the bulk of the holders. They are simply a tool for budgeted spending, and controls on their use are vigorous.
"The cost of processing every purchase order and paying an invoice is reckoned by the Government to be about £28, compared to the negligible cost of a credit card purchase. In fact, not only do our cards have a zero annual fee, we also have a cashback deal that earned us £6,100 last year."
Each staff member who gets given a council credit card has to undergo an hour-long briefing on when best to use it.
Every time they use the card, the staff member has to log the purchase and keep the receipts. The logs are checked against itemised credit card bills at the end of the month.
Any limit-busting buys need senior authorisation.