Dundee City Council has forked out more than £6,400 in a bid to prepare councillors for media interviews – despite providing its own training at no cost the year before.
Figures provided by the city council showed six media training sessions were carried out between November and December last year.
Each session cost £900 each, plus 20% VAT – a total of £6,480 – and trained councillors from across the political spectrum.
These included the newer recruits, such as Lochee councillor Roisin Smith, city development convener Lynne Short and former education convener Gregor Murray.
However, a number of seasoned councillors were also given refreshers, including Kevin Keenan, Helen Wright and Willie Sawers.
Stuart Fairweather, Dundee branch chairman of Unite, said: “It seems strange money can be found for this when the council is forcing cuts on other services.
“It would be good if the councillors engaged in serious talks with the unions and the community over the difficulties the city faces.”
Ginny Lawson, manager of the Brooksbank Centre said: “Surely as individuals they should pursue this at their own expense. We have 15 staff at Brooksbank left with a £600 training budget at £40 a head.
“It’s not appropriate at this difficult time of strapped finance. We don’t even have any money in volunteer training budget this year and it’s insulting to community projects. This cannot be real.”
The council previously held internal media training classes in October 2017 at no cost, where councillors were taught en masse on how to speak to the press.
No media training was carried out in either 2016-17 or 2015-16.
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “The council is required to provide support to elected members so they can carry out their duties effectively, so organises training and development sessions across a range of topics.
“Media training was included to allow councillors practical support to help them engage with print and broadcast outlets, and therefore to communicate effectively.”