Another Wednesday and a new influx of non-jobs hit the pages of the Society Guardian. From scanning these adverts, one could reasonably assume that the majority of public bodies care more for their reputation than they do for their service delivery, with vacancies for communications professionals filling every page.
Take South Lakeland District Council for example (who happen to be advertising for four positions at present, with salaries totalling as much as £164k) – they’d like a new Communications Manager to “wow” residents and bring them up to date with 21st century social media. Now, this is a council who upped their publicity spending from £73,000 to £183,000 between 1996-7 and 2006-7 and the population of the place only just tops 100,000. If local authorities think twittering would be an advantage, then can they not just figure it out like everyone else, rather than shelling out almost £33k for the salary of a new council officer? Go on the internet, read the instructions, ask a friend but please, don’t resort to Elton John levels of extravagance by hiring a man to push the button for you…
And from councils who are throwing their weight, and our money behind new mediums of communication, to councils who are continuing to flog a truly dead and thoroughly ineffective horse. This week’s non-job is from Havering Council;
“Community Newspaper Editor
£29,601 - £31,761
Havering Council’s community newspaper, Living, is a bright and energetic fortnightly publication, delivered to all residents of the Borough. It combines news from the Council, with features on local history, community projects, people and places.
We are now looking for an enthusiastic and skilled professional to lead on the production and development of our flagship publication.
Based in Romford, Havering Council delivers services to one of London’s largest boroughs. We are looking for the right person to help us tell our story.
If you are an experienced writer, able to craft your own copy and edit the work of others to fit our snappy house style, then we want to hear from you.”
Oh, we do all love our council’s regular community newspaper don’t we? Oh no hang on….most of us fast track it straight into the bin or use it to line a litter tray.
Costly to produce, print and deliver we can only hope that pretty soon this medium of “communication” (usually more like a local authority boasting booklet) is made history. Advertising sales might cover some of these costs, but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that producing such a newspaper and delivering it to every resident is a wasteful contradiction to local government’s preachy environmental agenda.
It’s hard to know who to feel most sorry for, the taxpayers who shell out for these increasingly redundant positions at councils right across the UK, or whoever lands what must be a pretty soul-destroying job. Whatever the case, when our councils are saying they're cash-strapped, it’s exactly this sort of needless propaganda they should axe first, especially when the read it/resent it ratio on these publications are heavily weighted in favour of the latter, and consequently it’s likely that Havering’s ‘bright and energetic’ Living paper actually does their reputation more harm than good.