Last week I mentioned that I had been invited to speak at a debate on “A Crisis in Local Democracy” at Canterbury Christchurch University, now many of you will think that this stuff, when I get around to posting, is just thrown together, purely based on middle-aged prejudice and a blatant disregard for facts, and you might have point.
I have a theory that either through accident, design or manipulation, we here in Kent are treated a bit like mushrooms, in that the establishment, like to keep us in the dark about what goes on, lest we worry too much about how we are governed.
In order to beef up my theory I thought I might rely on those awfully helpful bods in Kent councils media department just to give me an idea, as too how much they spent on Information and PR in order to get the “official” KCC message out.
So I made the call to KCC’s press office on Wednesday morning, something like “How much does KCC spend on Publicity or Media and what is the press office’s budget?” how difficult would that be? Still despite what I understood to be a commitment to ring back, I didn’t hold my breath, and was not surprised when no assistance was forth coming.
Anyhow fast forward to today and having some time free I thought I’d ask again, fortunately having been chasing up some information from Cllr Nick Chard, KCC Cabinet member for a follow up to an email in February I was in sorting out loose ends sort of frame of mind.
I rang the media bods at KCC to see how they were getting on with last weeks enquiry, re media spending etc, seems I interrupted a meeting (perhaps on how to better communicate with the public), anyhow under pressure I put the question again explaining I’d asked a while ago, and was told I could look it up and where, which is all I needed to know earlier.
From my interpretation it appears that Corporate communications team & activities cost a mere £807,000 in the year 2008-9 and despite that humongous budget, appear unable or unwilling to respond in a reasonable fashion.
Just briefly coming back to that debate (Crisis in Local Democracy) I mentioned at the top of this post, I will comment more and this is by way a contribution since if local democracy is to thrive KCC needs to be more efficient and helpful to those who wish to discuss our democracy after all you and I pay the bills.