A BOURNEMOUTH councillor has been reprimanded by the Tory group after refusing to back spending on corporate communications.

Town hall sources told the Echo that Cllr Nick Rose had been reprimanded after a Conservative group meeting on Monday, having abstained in the vote on the council's budget in February.

When the Echo contacted Cllr Rose on Wednesday he said he was aware of the outcome although he had not attended the group meeting.

He said: "I have great respect for my fellow backbenchers in the group and so I accept their reprimand graciously."

However Cllr Rose also reiterated his concern about the council's spending on corporate communications, which stood at £365,000 last year, saying "it makes my blood boil that the council is wasting so much money on self-publicity when we have to provide essential services for our residents".

"The town sells itself it doesn't need an army of people," he said.

"Last week JD Wetherspoon said they were closing their social media accounts as it was a waste of time and not bringing in any business.

"This commercial organisation has seen sense, why is the council wasting taxpayers money on 40 social media accounts when it only needs a single Facebook and a single Twitter account?"

In February's full council meeting on the budget, prior to his abstaining in the vote, Cllr Rose asked the cabinet about the time and money costs of communications.

In response, Cllr John Beesley, leader and cabinet member for resources, said the service was now shared with Poole, and that savings were expected in the 2018/19 financial year.

"Communications are key to Bournemouth’s council tax payers in receiving relevant information about council decisions and the key service changes that affect them," he said.

"By ensuring they receive this information in a timely manner in their choice of format which is increasingly through digital channels, means that the council minimises the time taken to deal with contact from the public.

"Therefore, proactive and planned communications to support council service delivery results in longer term efficiencies."

Cllr Beesley said sharing services with Poole was expected to result in a saving of £106,000 over 2018/19, and that in that time the department has a "target income" of some £155,000.

The corporate communications department has nine full time equivalent employees, and in the 12 months to February 2018 it dealt with 611 media enquiries. The staff budget was £253,071 net.

The department also produced and distributed the four annual editions of the borough's BH Life magazine to 96,000 households, alongside leaflets and online newsletters, and managed the council website and social media accounts.

Alongside bournemouth.gov.uk the borough has 14 other websites and 44 social media accounts – 21 of which are focused on tourism and others for libraries, parks and youth services, all managed centrally.

Cllr Beesley said: "The destination marketing contributes towards the wider economic benefit of tourism to the town, which is estimated to be worth £670 million per annum."