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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Triborough spends £4 million a year on PR!

£4 million down the drain
 A much vaunted virtue of the Triborough arrangement was the huge savings that would follow.
So the Dame was interested in some research carried out by Justin Downes, founder of Financial Dynamics, one of the world's largest public relations groups.
In any corporate merger the first rule is to take a look at 'soft savings'. Into that category comes public relations....
So has there been any attempt to rationalise the three council communications departments? According to Downes the answer is no.
Critical front line services are being cut to the bone yet the three councils are spending an aggregated £4 million a year(with establishment and pension costs.) Logic would have dictated that the first cut would have been this wasteful spending: after all our own Rotten Borough Propaganda Unit seems to occupy itself sending out garbage about root vegetable festivals in Portobello or putting together the readerless Royal Borer. As for Westminster....well it's handling of the parking issues hardly covered it's PR Dept in glory!
If the three councils were serious about saving money they would have immediately considered outsourcing communications to an external consultancy or centralising communications within a streamlined standalone unit.
The irony is that councils love to pretend they are client facing businesses, yet fail to execute an obvious rationalisation a privately run company would have seen as an absolute priority.


  1. nonymous said...

    Extraordinary....had no one thought of actually using an agency for all three councils
    30 April 2012 16:09
    Gnat said...

    Apparently, a middle manager in a particularly obscure area of Environmental Services now has to report to 14 different people - across 3 boroughs. Good, publicly funded, PR is obviously required.
    1 May 2012 12:58

  2. The Dame has hit the jackpot again with this penetrating analysis by Mr Downes - who is obviously well qualified to give advice on this subject.

    Why is it that residents continue to tolerate the pigmies in the Tory Town Halls of Kensington, Hammersmith and Westminster who are so concerned with bolstering their image and puffing themselves up that priority spending in a recession is PR?

    It is a disgrace. Thank you Mr Downes for exposing the scandal and the Dame for printing it.

    To put the £4 million spend into context, the dreadful Leader of K&C ($416 Cockell of Keane's Restaurant, New York) boasts that the Tri Borough will save £19 million a year. Why not make it £23 million and cut the PR? Or maintain vital services to the poor and vulnerable?


  3. Futile Leaders need PR to maintain their image.

    Bigger men walk the talk.

  4. Kensington Resident1 May 2012 at 15:33

    Makes my blood boil to think that my council tax is being wasted on this scale.

    It is not only the big follies like £30 million for pink granite from China to do up Exhibition Road. Its the vanity spending of £4 million a year on puff

    Cllr Cockell should be ashamed of himself

  5. The rodent has no shame, 15.33

  6. £4 million!!

    On PR!!!!!!

    Local Government, clearing the dustbins

    What are these idiots doing?

  7. This fantastic sum of money, £4 million, needs to be given wide press coverage by the Evening Standard

    What does Minister Pickles think?

    The Essex Lord Hanningfield was a fan of PR spending too. Until he was clapped into jail.

  8. Despots all over the world are the same.

    In free countries they prop themselves up with PR. In totalitarian regimes they prop themselves up with Security Forces.

    Council Leaders should be limited to two terms (8 years) in office. Just like the President of America. Cllr Cockell is now in his fourteenth year as dictator of K&C.

    Lord Acton warned us......

  9. Dame, is this something that could be investigated by the Public Auditor?

  10. Why has the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee not picked up on this?

    Because it is a talking shop stuffed with Cockell appointees mindful of their SRA's

  11. I believe that the Triborough promramme is Derek Myer's responsibility?
    Why not ask him to justify the PR preservation?
    If he can, well and good, otherwise, this might be a good opportunity for a No Confidence campaign...

    Cell: 07799647160

  12. Member of The Conservative Party2 May 2012 at 10:07

    Excellent idea 9.57

    As a resident it would be great if you write an open letter to the Chief Executive, Derek Myers, saying that you have noted the information on the Hornet and could he justify the £4 million PR spend.....

  13. Town Hall egos are totally insensitive to public opinion, Ministerial nudges (Pickles puffing)and resident protests.

    And obviously "the right thing to do" has nothing to do with reality.

    It is only media pressure (and acts of God) that stand any chance of making change

  14. Revolution is also a proven option.....

  15. When will the pathetic bunch of Tory Councillors in Hornton Street get rid of Cockell?

  16. £4 million a year is £10,960 a DAY! There are - or most likely were - staff such as home helps for the elderly & disabled: earning less than £11,000 a YEAR! Scandal!


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