It’s good to talk

 The Scottish Government cannot tell us how much has been paid for their staff’s personal phone calls.

Staff are responsible for paying back the charges incurred on mobile phones for personal calls but nobody knows exactly how much has actually been paid. 

Figures now available show that the total cost of work mobile phone bills used by ministerial staff rose by just under £1500 in the year 2007-08.

For 2006-2007, the total cost of mobile phone bills for ministerial staff was £34,505.73 (of which £14,816.09 was actual call usage). For 2007-2008, it was £36,030.12 (of which £16,246.26 was actual call usage).

Ministerial staff are often required to work out-of-hours and need mobile phones to carry out these duties.  

The Government were asked how much had been repaid towards these bills by staff for the cost of their own calls. This is their answer to a request for the amount refunded by the staff  

  Data on the repayment of call charges for personal calls is not readily available for any group of staff. Repayments are made by individuals at different times and are held in a general account used for all Scottish Government staff. Reporting from the accounting system (SEAS) does not provide us with the level of detail requested.






So, in the age of technology, it is simply not possible for someone at the Scottish Government to do a very basic arithmetical calculation.  Is that because nothing has been repaid? We are left wondering.


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