Peterborough Council and NHS Peterborough have decided to appoint a Director of Communications, and are offering to pay up to £90,000 pa. Conservative councillor Mike Fletcher agrees with many of the callers into the programme that this is an entirely inappropriate use of the ratepayers’ money, and that Cabinet spending is harming the city.
Broadcast at 07:27 on Thursday 22nd July 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Shon on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. The host is Paul Stainton.
PAUL: Yes it’s a big job, salary up to ninety grand. Director of Communications for the Council combined with the city’s hospitals, nice wonga. A final salary pension scheme as well. The Council say it will save money, only one Director of Comms. overseeing both organisations. Jack Thorpe says “I’m going to apply for that bad boy.” Sean Lawler says “Don’t get all high and mighty. It’s the going rate Paul. Do a comparison on other Directors’ salaries across the country. You’ll get it.” Graham says: “There’s only ever been a Head of Service. What’s the need for a Director?”. Roy South says “The last thing I need in the morning is another wind up of grossly inflated salaries. Too many chiefs, not enough Indians. Is this what’s crucified the NHS for years? And as for the Council, do I need to say more? Anyway, now I’ve got that off my chest, where’s the cornflakes?” says Roy in Bretton.
Michael Fletcher says, “Isn’t it marvellous? As a councillor the first I hear of this is on Facebook on the Peterborough Breakfast Show. I despair. You just couldn’t make it up.” Michael, w’re not making it up. It’s true. What do you think?
MIKE: Who makes these decisions? Certainly it’s not put before councillors. Director of Communications, ninety k, consultants twelve million, seven people take away a million pounds. We’re supposed to be Conservatives, looking at saving money. As I say, you just couldn’t make it up. The Council is fast becoming a parasite on the community.
PAUL: That’s quite strong Michael.
MIKE: Of course it’s strong. It’s about time something was done about it. We make all these complaints, and we put all these things, asking them to justify statements that are made, and put some meat on the bones. And when you do that, you just get nowhere. You don’t get any questions answered whatsoever.
PAUL: Do you think jobs of this size, and this size of salary, should be put before the Council?
MIKE: Well of course it should. Surely to goodness. We’re elected to represent the people. Every councillor is elected with the same mandate. Why on earth are a few people making decisions like this, when the rest of us aren’t even cosulted? I find it totally wrong.
PAUL: Yes. It is the going rate though, isn’t it, if you want a Director of Comms. The question is though, do we need one?
MIKE: Well exactly. Do we need one. The media department at the Town Hall, I was told once was eighteen people there. Now if that’s correct or not I don’t know but I know there’s a lot.
PAUL: Not quite I don’t think. No. But other councils, Fenland I think have one, East Cambs have one, Cambridge Council, I don’t think they have any.
MIKE: Well there we go then. It just isn’t necessary is it?
PAUL: Who does make these decisions by the way.
MIKE: Well it’s got to come from the Cabinet, hasn’t it?
PAUL: I’ve got a statement here from the Council, from Councillor Matthew Lee …
MIKE: Oh yes.
PAUL: (LAUGHS) .. Deputy Leader of the Council. He says: “As usual the Liberal Democrats ..” who are up in arms about this as well ” .. are completely misinformed. The position being advertised is Director of Comms for two organisations, Peterborough City Council and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The position will save both the City Council and the Hospitals Trust money, as there will be just one Director of Comms overseeing both organisations. Peterborough is one of the first areas of the country to embark upon a venture such as this, which will see two public sector organisations working together more efficiently and effectively, delivering cost savings.” There you go.
MIKE: Well. It sounds very impressive, doesn’t it? As I said before, when the run-of-the-mill councillors aren’t even consulted .. I don’t know anything about it .. or even asked for an opinion, then I think that says it all really. I can’t comment much further.
PAUL: Well I think you’ve said enough. I think very strong indeed. Michael Flatcher, who found out about the new Director of Communications job being advertised, on our Facebook page.