Do feel free to send in any recommendations for this ‘non-job of the week’ slot as it’s always interesting to read about what costly and unnecessary public sector jobs you’ve spotted in your local paper.
Following on from last week’s ‘Neighbourhood Co-ordinator’, this week’s Guardian jobs site advertises for no fewer than three similar positions at the London Borough of Southwark; a Community Training Officer, Resident Involvement Co-ordinators (plural!), and a Resident Involvement Manager – total salary at least £100k (taking the lower end of the wage scale and assuming only one co-ordinator is hired…).
Our non-job this week however comes from an unnamed ‘public sector health organisation’ and is indicative of just how complex the drain on taxpayers’ money actually is:
“Public Affairs Officer
£29000 - £32000 per annum
The client, a public sector health organisation, have an exciting opportunity for a Public Affairs Officer to join the team and engage with Parliament, Whitehall and external stakeholders to keep the organisation's issues on the public agenda.
The Public Affairs officer will be responsible for developing the client's public affairs engagement with key stakeholder groups and will gather, interpret and analyse information around prominent issues within the sector. The Public Affairs Officer will monitor, interpret and analyse developing policy which impacts on relevant health issues across the UK, the Public Affairs Officer will then provide advice as required to senior managers across the organisation. The Public Affairs Officer will proactively seek and act on opportunities to raise the profile of the organisation and demonstrate its expertise within the health sector.
The candidate selected for this role will have proven experience working in public affairs within the public sector and will have experience of leading the development of public affairs and engagement strategies. The successful applicant will have experience of working with a range of internal and external stakeholders and will be comfortable working in a multi-disciplinary environment”.
So we’re paying for a government-run body to lobby the government…
It’s one thing paying for the army of press officers and marketing experts that proliferate within seemingly every government splinter, keen to cultivate a seamless public profile, but let’s not forget these public affairs officers, consultants and externally hired lobbyists who we bank roll so that state-funded organisations can push their agendas and vie for bigger budgets i.e. more of our money.
And let’s not forget the argument that different degrees of lobbying from different organisations can create an imbalance and therefore potentially effect the democratic decision making process. One thing’s for sure, the growth in the number of these roles seems out of kilter with actual public interest – it’s just taken for granted that we approve of the organisation’s objectives and are fully supportive of their (expensive) promotion and the wrangle to “keep them on the public agenda”.