Sep 16 2014

Harrow Council in £3m hunt for comms support over “bad PR” from cuts

harrow_council_logoPRWeek Magazine has announced that Harrow Council is seeking a partner to manage the public and media relations, publications and service marketing at the council, “…amid major cuts to council services, looking at new ways of driving the council’s messages to local residents.”

It goes on to say that Alex Dewsnap, the council’s director of resources, said, “”The contractor needs to maintain the core communications function in the context of the council needing to make significant savings, and manage the bad PR around the difficult decisions we need to make.”

What the bloody hell is going on?

Isn’t it about time that the council did what council tax payers expect of it: clean streets, fix potholes, run schools, empty bins, and the myriad of other “services” that residents expect? Do residents really need £3,000,000 of their money spent to hear what a good job their council is doing for them? And exactly how many people do they need to peddle PR spin? Costing £780,000 per year, even at an average of £50k per person per year (and that’s significantly more than some people *ahem* would think they’re worth) that’s 15 people running PR. That’s

PRWeek continues: The tender document states that the agency will be tasked with delivering “innovative models to achieve reduction of costs to the authority” while “enhancing the communications experience to the authority’s customers and stakeholders”, and that the council will require “robust KPIs to that effect”.

You can read the complete article here.

Dave’s clearly expecting his cuts to libraries, axing of street lights, closure of children’s services and charging for waste collection to to go down badly. Hey, Dave – here’s an idea you haven’t considered: why not just euthanise anybody over the age of 65 or long term unemployed, and make the borough a child free ad car free zone, and have done with it? Anybody left can collect litter and clean rivers.

Here’s one bit of PR advice: consult on reducing the number of ward councillors from three per ward to just two, and save yourself – and us residents – nearly £700,000. That might just be one idea that gets residents on your side. You can have that bit of advice for free…

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  1. Mike N

    Here we go again. What is it with Labour councils that they always seem to want to cut the services that everybody needs and uses i.e. Street cleaning, rubbish collecting, road repairs, in favour of things that only a minority use, whilst blaming every cut on the current coalition government.
    They then want to waste money on PR to try and convince us what fantastic services they provide, as the borough gets dirtier and dirtier and ends up an undesirable place for hard working, normal families to live.
    They then loose power and it takes years to recover, as it has done since Blair and Brown were voted out. Whilst complaining bitterly that the next ruling party are being nasty in the hard decisions that have to be made trying to get us all back on track

  2. mike mcfadden

    Just love those comments a real bit of home truth coming out here. My advice to save money. STOP printing in all other languages. Your in England so get use to it!! STOP supplying very costly interpreters free of charge. Those that need em must pay for them. I’m sure after a very short time the boroughs residents command of English will improve massively and then no doubt they can get work and pay their way. “Simple” Not rocket science. If the council is going to give tax-payers money to anyone it should be to those that have paid in for many years and not those that come knocking at our door from all corners of the globe. !!! Wake-up time.

  3. Concerned Harrovian

    I would rather my Council Tax was paid to reverse respite care cuts for carers rather than PR to bamboozle residents.

    You do not need PR if you are honest, transparent, fair, caring, have integrity and do not indulge in ridiculous projects.

  4. Angelina

    Has anyone else noticed the continued use of the word ‘innovative’ by Harrow Council, they don’t even know the meaning of the word! They would not have to waste money yet again on PR if David Perry did his job properly and interacted on here and elsewhere with the residents, and held an open surgery like Susan Hall promised. This guy is a joke the Council is a joke and Labour are a joke. What a complete and utter farce!

  5. PraxisReform

    Here’s how the council could save £3,000,000

    We should have a Neighbourhood PR Champions scheme, in which local residents can sign up to praise Harrow Council and its Councillors in the press and local blogs etc, whenever they do more than just the absolute bare minimum that they can get away with.

    After all, that’s exactly what Bell Pottinger, or whoever else the council signs up, will be doing.

  6. Victoria Silver

    Agree with concerned Harrovian. Cutting support to Carers and the voluntary sector break election and manifesto promises. Now more than ever, Harrow needs independent user groups able to speak-up against cuts.

    1. Barry Macleod-Cullinane

      It’s not like Labour to break their election promises…

      Oh wait! Labour’s 2010 manifesto promised (3 times) not to privatise Harrow’s libraries – yet privatise them Labour did.

      And, to compound breaking their promise, Labour then delayed the process and cost Harrow’s taxpayers £180,000 … and who was in charge of libraries when the privatisation plans were being drawn up? That’s right, it was Cllr. Perry.

      So, the omens aren’t good….

  7. Concerned Harrovian

    Carers and those cared for are never going to be able to stage a demonstration en masse outside the Civic Centre given their situation. This is a shame because it would do the councillors good to gaze into the faces of these people and see the human impact of this cut.

    I am sure the majority of folks in Harrow would not support this cut. After all any one of us could find ourselves in the position of needing care or caring,

    Harrow Council’s PR situation would improve and some of £3,000,000 could go to help carers!

  8. Concerned Harrovian

    Lackey says to Sir Dave:“Sire, I have just received news that the peasants are revolting.”

    Leader Dave, “Well that’s certainly true.”

    Lackey, “But sire they say they are going on strike and will refuse to pay their Council Tax.”

    Leader Dave, “A strike you say, ah yes I like a good strike.”

    Lackey, “The strike will hurt us. If they refuse to pay there will be no more expense claims and your leader salary will not be paid. They are talking of dumping rubbish from the streets and rivers outside the Civic Centre.“

    “Gadzooks, we can’t have that.” He twirls his imaginary moustache. “I wonder if Sue e(M) (H)all is behind this?

    Lackey, “No sire, I think they managed to come up with the idea by themselves. We could use the money from our council coffers to buy them off.”

    Leader Dave, “I have a better idea let’s pay £3,000,000 to our agents to spread rumours that life under our administration will be Utopian. In fact, we could rename Harrow ‘Utopia’.

    “Wonderful idea, Sire”

    They leave to organise a champagne reception to celebrate the new Utopia.

  9. Victoria Silver

    Not the time for his fault, her fault, their fault, not me – Macleod Cullinane. What are you doing to make things better?

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