Free School FOI Shorts: Cllr Spicer's promise of locality funds to Ixworth questioned

Back in November I blogged about Cllr Spicer offering what appeared to be £1000 of her County Council locality funds to the Ixworth Free School proposers. She later confirmed to me that it was locality money she was promising.

I did not think this was really a proper use of locality funding and it appears that Jane Storey who is the Portfolio Holder for finance agrees with me as this email shows:
From: Jane Storey
Sent: 31 October 2011 10:45
To: Graham Newman
Subject: A M Proposed Free School in the lxworth and Stantion area Attachments
I don't have a major problem with Joanna supporting the Free School - but I note from the attached letter that she has pledged £1000 in support. I assume that this is from her locality budget and not personally. I am not sure that this is in the spirit of Locality Funding and I find it rather a strange use of funds. 
Jane Storey
Councillor for Thedwastre North
What was also interesting is that Spicer forwarded my request for a comment to Free School spokesperson Stephen Larder who replied back to her:
From: Stephen Larder
To: Joanna Spicer; Graham Newman
Subject: RE: lxworth Free School


Whatever you say he will turn into a blog. Lot's of free school progress which I suspect is why they are busy trying to spoil.

Will call you and give you a proper update. Stephen

From: Joanna.Spicer
To: stephenlarder; Graham.Newrnan
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2011 19:04:13 +0000
Subject: FW: Ixworth Free School
need to answer this in next few days; I am minded to just reply a short note to the effect that I have not received a formal application and therefore no locality budget grant has been paid.

From: James Hargrave
To: Joanna Spicer
You will note the letter claims you have pledged £1000 towards the start up costs for this project and I wanted to ask you if this money is from your own resources or sourced from public funds (such as locality budgets).
Best wishes

James Hargrave
Not sure why me turning the fact the Joanna Spicer has promised £1000 of her locality money to the Ixworth Free School project into a blog is likely to "spoil" the free school project. If that is the case perhaps she should not have made this promise. I am a blogger so turning things into blogs is what I do!

In any event she doesn't seem to have actually asked the County Council to pay the money as her locality budgets statement makes clear:

Click to enlarge, Source Suffolk County Council
Maybe with Seckford on board they don't need the money now or perhaps she thought better of it. Hopefully the attempts to obtain funds for the free school project from parish councils will also have stopped.

It's worth remembering Rachel Gooch's tweet about how far £1000 could of for one of the primary schools in her division. I note Spicer has only actually given £175 to education.

joanna spicer 5280379043485802376

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