The Foreign Office wasted tens of thousands of pounds sending civil servants to learn how to play African drums during the final years of the Labour government.
They were sent on expensive bonding sessions where they learnt how to make music with broom handles, plastic tubs and tribal ‘talking’ drums.
The sessions cost taxpayers £38,636.40 between 2006 and 2010.
The spending peaked while David Miliband was foreign secretary in 2008/09, when £26,245.79 was spent on the services of the team-building company Poisson Rouge.
Other public organisations that have used Poisson Rouge are the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Highways Agency and the Passport Service.
Three banks owned or part-owned by taxpayers – Lloyds, HBOS and the Royal Bank of Scotland – have also spent a fortune sending staff to the company’s team-building workshops.
Last night Tory backbench MP Charlie Elphicke said: ‘Under Labour, diplomats spent tens of thousands on away days and games, including banging on “dustbins and drums”.
‘It is no surprise that Labour maxed out on the nation’s credit card when they allowed wasteful spending like this.
‘This Government is finding sensible savings where possible and putting an end to Labour’s culture of secrecy and waste.
‘We will continue to root out waste of public expenditure and lead the way in ensuring taxpayers get value for money.’
The amount of money wasted on the away days was revealed after a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
The response shows that five Foreign Office directorates took part in Poisson Rouge events – the Americas Directorate, the Directorate for Defence and Strategic Threats, the Europe Directorate, the International Security and Institutions Directorate and the Overseas Territories Directorate.
One ‘security training planning officer’ wrote on Poisson Rouge’s website about how much he and his colleagues had enjoyed the ‘Rhythm Challenge’. He said: ‘Even the most cynical of my colleagues were won round…and, without exception, everyone thought that the Rhythm Challenge was great fun.’
The company’s website says the two-hour Rhythm Challenge is a ‘fabulous, high-impact activity that really lifts the energy levels, motivates and rewards’.
It gushes: ‘The key themes of the Rhythm Challenge are unison, interdependence, communication, stepping outside the “comfort zone”, teamwork, delegation, smile and activity – lots of it!
‘We use a wide, varied and colourful selection of instruments ranging from our homemade-style dustbins, broom handles and plastic tubs, through to the Latin salsa chocoholos, timbales and ganzas, to the tribal “talking” drums, such as jembes and djun djuns!
‘Nothing motivates and sets the spine tingling like a Poisson Rouge Rhythm Challenge.’
The Foreign Office’s EU Communications Team wrote about their experience: ‘It’s the first time we’ve been able to get away from the office and really take stock and think creatively and honestly about what we do, how we do it – and how we fit together.
‘It certainly met (if not passed) my expectations and I know we will be a better team for it.’
Staff from the Passport Service took part in the ‘Art Challenge’, which involves working together to create a huge painting.
Other events offered by Poisson Rouge include the ‘Beer Challenge’, which consists of beer tasting and brewing, and a murder mystery.
How can you vote for a party that just squanders all your money ?. More proof that the Labour politicians and councillors are only in it for their own gain and entertainment. But never forget that it was the Labour Party that relaxed our borders for the immigration invasion, and now this country is suffering.