Expenses again

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, spent almost £7,000 of taxpayers’ money on business class flights around the world while the Crown Prosecution Service headed towards crisis over Greville Janner and doomed trials of journalists.

Ms Saunders, who is paid £200,000 a year, flew business class to New York, Washington, Dubai and the Caribbean, and also jetted to Madrid, Rome and The Hague for publicly-funded trips while the CPS spent a year contemplating whether to prosecute Lord Janner.

Her expenses, which totalled £13,000 for a 12-month period, included £1,040 spent on taxis, with a single taxi ride that cost £102. Her trip to the Caribbean for an “official meeting” last September cost the taxpayer £3,105 for business class flights and hotels.

6 or 7% of salary as expenses? Seems pretty cheap really. and whether she actually needed to go to an “official meeting” in the Caribbean is unknown. But if you’re going to shift some 50 year old (don’t know, rough guess) transatlantic then you’d better cough up for business class if you want them to be able to do anything when they get there or back. Fine to stick ’em cattle class on Ryanair for a couple of hours around Europe, but not for 6 or 7 in the air each way.

25 thoughts on “Expenses again”

  1. Just that the travel should be really necessary. If the Carribean trip was a load of CPS staff from the UK going for a meeting then no it wasn’t, it could have been in Milton Keynes. If it was EU public prosecutors no it wasn’t. If from all over the world just maybe, as long as there was nowhere cheaper.

  2. I can see both sides. I think what sticks in the average taxpayer’s craw is that she’s earning by their standards a massive whack, has an index-linked gold plated pension, is basically unsackable, is doing her dream job… adding in £13k of exes pa to stop in nice hotels in the Caribbean and fly there business class (slumming it, if you ask me, but…) is taking the piss a bit, in some hard-to-specify way.

    I’d like to see all govenment salaries restricted to a maximum of £100k a year – the pension and job security for that sort of people would be more than enough to attract able candidates.

  3. Four long haul business class flights for less than £7k is very reasonable. So is £13k expenses total.

    As Daedalus says, what counts is whether the trips were necessary. If they were, then whoever sorts out her travel has done a very good job with the public purse.

  4. The press has encouraged the ordinary voter to equate “expenses” with “salary”, probably following on from the scandal of MPs expenses where there was deliberate attempt to provide a pay increase in the form of expenses.

    However for most people either in business or in public service “expenses” are the costs of doing the job in the first place. If I send one of my staff to see a client in Manchester or Edinburgh or Brussels I would expect the company to pick up the cost of her travel and a reasonable hotel. I don’t expect staff to slum it in a boarding house but I don’t expect to pay for the Ritz either. She would travel 1st class by train and tourist class by air unless it was long haul when she would go business class.I expect her trip to be as short as reasonable so I expect her to hit the ground running when she arrives after a long haul flight.

    These are just the costs of doing business not extra pay or perks for the staff. People, especially journalists, need to grow up

  5. It’s the linking of the amount spent on travel while “the CPS spent a year contemplating whether to prosecute Lord Janner” that speaks volumes for the irrational prejudice of the critics.

    As if the CPS spent its time thinking up ways to “waste” money so as to provide a “reason” for not prosecuting Lord Janner and any other current public hate figure.

  6. There should be no public sector nd while there is no wage in it should be higher than 40,ooo and no pension more tyhan 25000. If “high-(fly)liars” can do better elsewhere they had best do so.

    Saunders is a malevolent bitch who is responsible for the femminista show trials. There is no need for her to visit anywhere outside the UK to do the job she is supposed to do. The eeeuuuuww can fuck off as can trips to the Caribbean. There are enough pirates there already and they have no need of another fat-arsed Anne Bonny.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    The flights might have cost £7k but that doesn’t mean that business class cost £7k. At worst it will be an incremental £3.5k and if planned in advance a lot less than that if using a good travel agent.

    Air travel pricing is a black art. I once managed to get a 1st class BA flight to HK cheaper than business class, but under group company rules I wasn’t entitled to travel 1st class so the Chairman of the Board had to sign off the approval forms. He was mighty pissed off about the waste of his time when it was an obvious cost saving.

  8. GeoffH

    “It’s the linking of the amount spent on travel while “the CPS spent a year contemplating whether to prosecute Lord Janner” that speaks volumes for the irrational prejudice of the critics.”

    Yes, they make it sound like all she did was fly around the world doing nothing but avoid prosecuting Janner.

    Do journalists pay travel costs themselves when their editor sends them out to dig up some shit on someone?

  9. Would Janner have been prosecuted had he been a Tory? That’s the only question that matters, and we can’t know the answer.

  10. ROB: “Yes, they make it sound like all she did was fly around the world doing nothing but avoid prosecuting Janner.”

    Not “but”. In order to….

  11. bloke (not) in spain

    The question has to be, do you want a DPP globetrotting in the first place.
    She is the UK Director of Public Prosecutions & has a job to do, directing UK public prosecutions. Now there are, no doubt, all sorts of points where UK prosecutions can interact with the prosecution authorities in other countries. But these are in the minutiae & can be dealt with by correspondence. If she’s off a abroad, pressing flesh & face to face she’s inevitably not discussing details but policy. But she’s a public servant tasked with executing policy, not creating it. Policy is a political realm, best handled by politicians. It’s what we have them for.

  12. Stigler: “The Carribean” also includes countries like Trinidad that feature lots of drug dealers and guns.”

    So Anne Bonney is flying over there why?.

    If you are suggesting that the Head of the CPS investigates these matters herself I suggest you pitch the idea as a TV show. That is as close to reality as it will get. It is a jaunt to and in the sun for a fat female pirate.

  13. The issue for me isn’t money. I’m far more interested in what she was doing there, and in her general violation of the neutrality of public service.

  14. No problem with the expenses, but why do you have to pay someone 4 grand a week to take a holiday in the Caribbean with a business meeting thrown in?

  15. The Madrid, Dubai and Caribbean trips appear to relate to asset recovery. In Madrid Saunders gave a speech (text of it here). The CPS have deployed Asset Recovery Advisors to Jamaica, Dubai and Madrid but I’ve not yet seen any mention of Saunders giving any speeches in Dubai or Jamaica.

  16. In looking at some of the expenses claims here I wonder what required both Alison Saunders and Chief Executive Peter Lewis to be in New York and Washington in early February 2014.

  17. Yes, the price suggests the government has negotiated a very tidy discount with the airlines. Which makes a refreshing change.

  18. No idea what La Saunders was doing in climes foreign, and I endorse those comments querying why a British-based, Britain-focused public official should be spending British taxpayers’ money giving speeches to furriners or, as she would no doubt say, exchanging information on best practice.

    What I will say is this: When I am instructed, as occasionally and regrettably I still am, by Saunders’ disgusting organisation to travel half the width of the country to prosecute some thug or other, irrespective of whether I’ve been sent any paperwork in advance, irrespective of whether any paperwork I have been sent is adequate and sensical, and regardless also of the gravity of the crime alleged, I will be reimbursed only standard travel costs. Any need I may have to work en route in a sparsely-populated first class carriage be damned.

    Trebles all round!

  19. I didn’t really know this until I actually got jetted off to a conference in a nice, warm resort


    Often times, those are the better conferences, because the location gets everyone to show up.

    FWIW: Feel free to ask me about the worst conference I ever went to: in Pittsburgh, in February.

  20. bloke (not) in spain

    “Often times, those are the better conferences, because the location gets everyone to show up.”

    Interesting proposition.
    It works if one assumes conferences are pleasant social gatherings. However. If one posits the better conference would be the one where those attending had the greatest commitment to the issues. It indicates the best ones would be held in Antarctica. In winter. Accessible only by dog-sled.

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