Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dear Mr,Mrs or Ms “Check your facts” and Kent Press Office

eurotosh In my last post I touched on the visit by Kent officials to the eGovernment bash in Malmo where its likely that Kent TV may win some award in connection with “the use of information and communication technology in public services”.

I received this rather helpful comment on which I’d like to remark.

Given recent events I should warn you to check your facts about the 'jolly' to Sweden. I was at a conference in Maidstone yesterday where Peter Gilroy gave a presentation. He's definitely not in Sweden.
Strangely though, one of the other speakers was a guy from capgemeni

Thu Nov 19, 12:42:00 PM

Firstly I didn’t refer or imply a “jolly”, secondly I was informed by a KCC officer that Peter Gilroy Cheif Executive and Tanya Oliver Director of Strategic Development and Public Access would be attending the eGovernment conference in Malmo Sweden, with a third person representing Kent Councils Kent TV whom I understand to be John McGhie.

Now rather surprisingly in my opinion, I actually received a reply to a request for information, from KCC’s press department via an email which in the past has not always been forthcoming and this is it.


In your response to your query, the European Commission is covering the costs of accommodation and flights for Tanya Oliver and a colleague to present Kent TV at the award finals. Peter Gilroy has been invited separately as guest speaker and his costs have also been covered by the European Commission.

There is no cost to KCC.


The answer arrived more than a day after my request and surprisingly late in the day @ 17:39

I relied on other sources when I mentioned this now, so didn’t have to wait around for our 5 star council to answer a simple question.

This afternoon I received a call at my other office which happens to be out on a construction site, it seemed that KCC press office were most interested that I impart information from the above email.

Now one thing seemed to niggle KCC and its this thing, the suggestion, that the Kent taxpayer might be funding the trip which was an opinion, conjecture, hypothesis.

Well folks I was wrong or perhaps right in someway, since as I understand, we are part of Europe and as nation a large contributor to the European Commission therefore Kent taxpayer will almost certainly have made some contribution however small.

I do not always, just throw this stuff together, and generally attempt to check facts, however I find the prospect of KCC officials nit picking on what is an opinion and or commentary yet another waste of public resources just like Kent TV, and finally when I’m told there is no cost to the Kent Taxpayer I take it then, the time spent in Malmo will be unpaid.

I’d like to remind KCC how much effort it took for them to acknowledge my right to express myself in relation to council policy.

I haven’t commented on “recent events”, that being local blogs being pressured, just recently but I will and despite the chasm between me and the Ramsgate blogger I owe a debt to all local bloggers for the support I received and particularly ECR.

This posting may well contain errors but the council officer whom was "on the case" seemed to think I should impart the funding issue pronto why ? I haven't a clue. but as a result this hasn't been checked in as much detail. Still if I've got it wrong you can instantly comment.


  1. There may well be no cost to KCC but this overlooks the fact that the public is still picking up the tab. It would be interesting to know how much in total it has cost the EU to bring in representatives of all 52 finalists in transport, accommodation and other ancillary expenses, such as staging the event. Just because KCC is not stumping up the money doesn't mean we aren't.

  2. The problem is that these people are running scared of blogs like yours and ECR's (particularly ECR's as they haven't the foggiest who he/she/it is). They have no hold or control over you, and that's what they hate. That's why they resort to these heavy-handed, bully boy tactics.

  3. KCC may not be picking up the direct expenses for this trrip but how can top KCC staff members find the time to go on this jolly for what is a non frontline extravagance. They should be concentrating on how they can mitigate those 700 staff cuts.

  4. And the winner is from Denmark!

    Tony I know you are in favour of council meeting webcasts but it interesting that according to a Paul Francis KM article on his blog yesterday, KCC have spent £750,000 on Kent TV and webcasting. I maybe wrong but maybe the webcasts include meetings that are not available to the public. Otherwise £150,000 is a lot of money for a service that other councils such as Croydon only pay £30,000 for 70 meetings a year and earlier this year they were having doubts on whether this was value for money. (there are more examples on the web of what other council spend on webcasts.)

    According to Paul Francis the webcasts have been bundled in with the kent TV contract. If Kent TV was self financing (or almost) this would make a lot of sense but otherwise its just a way of subsidising Kent TV.