Plenty of public sector jobs on offer this week in the pages of the Society Guardian with several enormous, elaborately designed adverts battling for space whilst emphasising the proliferation of generous salaries. Nevertheless, this week’s non-job comes with more humble pay, if a more ambiguous description.
“Community Engagement Officer
£23,860 - £26,917
You must have excellent project management skills, a comprehensive understanding of the neighbourhood management agenda and how it fits with the strategic aims for the city, you will have a proven record in devising and implementing new and innovative ways of engaging with local communities, especially those who are hard to reach.”
Eh? You have to head to the York City Council website if you want to make more sense of this one. And to be honest, you’ll be pretty disappointed to find a lengthier but similarly indecipherable job description. In this position you’ll have to “take a visionary approach to development of engagement and involvement”, “To take a lead role in the development of pilots which will deliver increased engagement and involvement across the city”, “To ensure that the engagement and involvement methods including Neighbourhood Action Plans connect and support the strategic vision of the authority and its partners”, and “analyse engagement within the authority”.
If you still aren’t sure but you think what the city needs is more council officers erm…engaging, then fear not, you’ll have adequate support in this role in the form of your very own sidekick. That’s right, you’ll have a Community Engagement Assistant (£17,243 - £18,957 pa) “To assist in enabling the opportunities for citizens to engage and participate in decision making and local democracy across the city. To assist in the development of community engagement and the introduction of innovative methods of engagement with groups and sectors of York’s community who are currently not involved in local democracy”.
So basically you can ‘facilitate’ those who already engage with local democracy, or coerce/cajole/‘encourage’ those who aren’t particularly interested. This job actually has a precedent in fifth century Athens where public slaves were tasked with dragging a rope, covered in fresh red paint through the agora to herd citizens, willing or not to the Assembly. Well, at least that was the direct, thrifty approach. This is the costly, touchy-feely modern-day equivalent.