Non-job of the week
Jan 2013 22

Lambeth Borough Council is looking for a Senior Policy Equalities and Performance Officer, paying £40506 – £43152 per annum. Once again the council says ‘this is a key role supporting Lambeth’s transformation to become the first Cooperative Council’, although how many key roles there are or can be, is anyone’s guess. Whilst most councils cut back on recruitment, Lambeth seems to continue undeterred. Here’s part of the job description:

To give a flavour – projects which you will be working on range from supporting the implementation of the Cooperative Council  to understanding and mitigating against the impact of welfare reform, promoting the council’s vision,  supporting the local strategic partnership -Lambeth First and improving the organisation’s reputation. As this role reports directly to the Chief Executive, you will be comfortable working with senior leaders and with a range of often competing stakeholders.

The flavour of the job seems to imply welfare reform is bad and the employee will spend their time assisting the council’s PR department in communicating this message. Is that worth over £40K of Lambeth taxpayers’ money?

HS2 Ltd is once again recruiting more staff. This time they are looking for a Social Media Officer, paying over £35K per annum, plus benefits. Here’s part of the job description:

Specifically, you will be responsible for promoting HS2 across social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Vimeo and YouTube. You will develop and implement a social media strategy and engagement programme, and stay abreast of the latest social media trends. Your remit will also require you to monitor, analyse and report on the effectiveness of our social media presence, and build relationships with key relevant online influencers and opinion formers.

So the next time you watch a new HS2 YouTube video, or see HS2 arguing with someone on Facebook or Twitter, you know who’s doing it and what they are getting paid. A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd told The Bucks Herald they have ‘advertised for a social media officer to carry out the necessary communications work required for a major infrastructure project of national significance to the UK, as the project moves forward and into the Parliamentary process’.

With a reply like that, it’s just as well a desirable criterion for this post is the ability to respond to a challenge with maturity and resilience, considering the majority of the public are against this costly scheme. As my colleague, Dominique Lazanski, commented yesterday, the Government is also getting desperate by claiming HS2 will help deliver superfast broadband, even though by 2026 we don’t know what new technologies will be developed. Not to mention the fact between 70 – 90% of homes along the proposed route already have access to superfast broadband, something that seems to have escaped the Government’s attention.

As I said last year when HS2 recruited a Senior Press Officer, two Policy Advisers, a Parliamentary Bill Assistant Manager, and a Parliamentary Bill Evidence Manager, expect more of the same as the HS2 spin machine goes into overdrive.

Andrew was the TPA's National Grassroots Coordinator