Agenda item

Questions Under Procedure Rule 10


The following questions were submitted by Councillor Martin Wale:


As the non-binding Poll re Unitary is now completed I request a complete financial breakdown of the cost of the Stronger Somerset campaign in relation to costs incurred by South Somerset District Council.

This to include:

  • The final cost of the Poll.
  • Cost of all circulations e.g. letter included in Council tax bills, circular with detachable voting slip and any other information circulated to all.
  • Legal fees whether to solicitors or QC.
  • Cost of all media activity including radio adverts, social media, production of videos.
  • An estimate of Officers time and any expenses incurred by officers or Councillors.
  • Any other expenses.

I request this information to be able to answer the most asked question during this process which was how much has it cost the taxpayer?

Also this information should be available at or as soon as possible after the time of announcement of the Poll result so as the taxpayers of South Somerset can judge the worth of this expense.



The Chairman noted that the following detailed response had been provided to Councillor Wale:


Please find the breakdown in the table below. There were no direct costs associated with media activity. The costs do not include internal officer time as we do not keep records of the time we spend on all the various activities we undertake as part of Council business.






Civica's Fees


Civica's costs total £314,825 across the four district councils. Each council has a separate contract with Civica for delivery of the poll within its area.

Printing costs


Postage and mail processing




Sharpe Prichard


The cost of legal fees totals £8,150. Each council picks up part of the cost in line with its percentage share of the total electorate in all four districts. SSDC's share is 30.27%.

James Goudie QC


Bevan Brittan





NB: we are expecting one more invoice from James Goudie QC for further advice received regarding the leaflet


Councillor Martin Wale acknowledged he had received a response to his question but he felt that information on the full cost of the Stronger Somerset campaign and the final cost of the poll regarding further legal advice had not been supplied.


The Director for Place and Recovery said there was one additional invoice to be added as advice had been sought from Queens Counsel (QC) on whether the Secretary of State should consider the outcome of the advisory poll.  Their advice had been that the poll should be considered.  The cost of previous legal advice by the QC had been £3,500 divided between the four District Councils so it was likely to be a similar amount.  She also stated that there had been no paid-for media costs and no expenses submitted.  SSDC had not paid for any additional staff as a result of the activity so there were no additional costs.


Councillor Wale asked for the cost of the Stronger Somerset campaign before the poll as he recalled funding had been set aside.


The Director for Place and Recovery said she would share the cost of the Stronger Somerset Business Case as it had been made available in a Freedom of Information request.

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