It’s a lottery for Hartlepool council staff

Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Christopher Akers-Belcher.

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COUNCIL staff will be invited to try their luck in a new lottery scheme which has been given the go-ahead.

The Hartlepool Borough Council lottery aims to generate funds for good causes and one-off projects as well as prizes for players.

The new scheme, which the council says will pay for itself, was given the green light by the authority’s Finance and Policy Committee.

Alastair Smith, the council’s Assistant Director for Neighbourhoods, said in a report: “The aim of the scheme is to generate income which can be used to support initiatives across all departments within the council and assist in the establishment of staff benefit initiatives.”

The level of take-up is not yet known but projections show if just two per cent of council staff play it would generate £3,000 a year, rising to £42,000 for 30 per cent of the workforce.

Councillor Chris Simmons supported the idea, saying: “I think it’s a good scheme.

“It is not going to come at any cost to the council.

“I think it has been very well thought-out.”

It is proposed to charge staff who choose to play £5 a month, which would be deducted from their salaries.

Mr Smith added: “Take up is important to ensure that sufficient funds are collected to offer attractive prizes.

“The prize fund established will be used to support various projects including good causes and staff events.

“All applications to the fund will be received and approved by the Staff Lottery Committee and staff will be encouraged to put forward applications to the committee for consideration.

“The scheme will be managed and run by staff and is external to council funding streams.”

Half of the lottery’s proceeds are planned to be given back to staff in prizes in monthly draws.

The council will apply to the Gambling Commission for permission to operate the lottery

Coun Carl Richardson sought assurances that staff would not feel pressured into taking part and that it would be properly monitored.

Officers stressed it was purely a voluntary scheme.

Some staff have already been consulted over the idea.

Committee chairman Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher supported it.

He said: “Anything that can help lift morale in anyway can only be good.”