As councils up and down the country do their best to expand their middle management, bloat their own salaries and scale back frontline services, they never fail to come up with yet another non-job for us to expose.
This week Liverpool City Council burns taxpayers’ money by offering this job, yet again, from the Guardian Society pages:
“Public Art Officer
£30,598 - £33,291
Liverpool is looking for people with the passion, commitment and skills to make their mark and deliver an exciting and challenging agenda. If you have ambition for yourself and for Liverpool; if you can improve yourself and support the development of your colleagues; if you share our values and strive to make others feel valued then we want to hear from you.
The post holder will be based in the Urban Design Team and will be dealing with all matters related to public art, including guidance and strategy.
Successful applicants will have a degree/diploma in a visual arts related subject and/or substantial experience of public art matters.
Candidates should preferably have experience of working within Local Government and should be self-motivated, well organised and be able to communicate effectively and work well as part of a team.
You must be able to work well under pressure and have the ability to meet deadlines.”
What? No taxpayer-funded chalk? No subsidised paint sets? Liverpool City Council lets us down. But give them credit, at least the ad wasn’t blank like last week’s non-job.
Seriously, though, Liverpool Council claim to be cash strapped, yet they have a sixty million black hole in their finances. Why are they employing artists when there is something very wrong with their finances? They spend £9.4million of taxpayers’ money (a 700% increase on 10 years ago) on its own publicity, with well over £1million of that on its staff advertising (a 1,000% increase on 1997 figures). Add more on top of that after Liverpool City Council’s 4.9% Council Tax grab this year and you find even greater scope for this council to waste more of your money.
This is where you come in. Kindly ask the leader of Liverpool City Council, Warren Bradley (firstname.lastname@example.org) whether this public art officer is value for money. How much longer are you going to let these council get away with wasting your money?