Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is our Conservative Kent Council guilty of bullying the media?

All organisations have a right to protect their reputation, but it seems to me that Kent Council have a particular aversion to media reporting.

Kent council is of coarse funded by you and I the taxpayer and some of us feel uncomfortable about just how sensitive KCC are over bad publicity, I'm sure they didn't like me criticising the failed Kent TV, they didn't like being called negligent over the fifty million Icelandic banks (best not say **** up) er incident, Cllr Paul Carter leader of Kent council didn't like Kent Messenger reporting on the last KCC chief exec Peter Gilroy's contract renewal, which at the time was understood to have cost you and me two hundred grand but later it was revealed to have been closer to half a million at £408,0000.

Recently the Kent Council Finance chief has taken leave at the time rather worrying suggestions were made and a BBC report suggested  "after concerns were raised about her relationship with the media and "sources" suggested that her emails had been investigated.

Currently KCC have the hump over how the BBC reported on the news that the boss of Children, Families and Education, was leaving, click here to see what I mean, I wont bore you since that would be paranoid.

It's clear that Kent have failed children and no amount of news management will change that.

Does it matter, well yes because Kent Council spend millions on PR and press management, and of course some of us will see the big spending on PR as an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes and an attempt to promote the Conservative group. Don't agree with me, remember this extraordinary bit of withheld info.

I think its important that local government officers, remember they are providing services to public and have duty to be open, honest and fair in their dealings (which most are) without fear of upsetting politicians.

Perhaps Paul Carter would like to comment, for free, here which, unlike his own blog is produced at no expense on a site not funded by taxpayers, and no surprise doesn't  currently allow readers comments.


  1. Even those it appears that she has been sacked, it looks like the Director of Childrens Services will receive a large payout for being a failure. As was Adam Wilkinson who is now chief executive of Derby City Council and was KCC’s former director of regeneration and transport but quit after just a year in the post.
    He was paid £365K for being at KCC for a year. The previous Director of Childrens Services received over £300K in his last year and was in post when the neglect of children needing protection was taking place. Add to that the Gilroy payoff and you can see that a cosy club seems to be in operation at KCC for top staff. Paul Carter says its the employment law but the private sector is not so generous for sacked or leaving staff.
    In this recent case Paul Carter as well as Sara Hohler the cabinet member for childrens services must take some of the blame and resign.
    We wait with interest to see how much those top staff that are leaving because of reorganisation pocket, as opposed to the coal face workers.

  2. Pay offs will always reflect the salary level of the post lost, hence the difference between that of senior local government officers and coal face workers. Not that I approve of huge sums to folk who have only been in the job a short time, or have under performed, but employment law, particularly after thirteen years of a Labour government, works very much against employers.

    Blame the system not the KCC whose hands are tied.

  3. Addressing the American Newspaper Publishers Association at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on April 27, 1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy said at the peak of the Cold War's Cuban Missile Crisis:

    "Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed -- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why the press in the USA was protected by the First Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution -- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants" -- but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

    And so it is to the printing press -- to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news -- that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent."

    We need a Bill of Rights in the UK, with constitutional guarantees regarding freedom of speech and the press. Only then will the Tony Blairs, the Paul Carters and others of their ilk be unable to hide behind veils of secrecy and lies.

  4. We've got one - it's called Magna Carta updated by the last government with the Human Rights Act.

    Trouble with rights is that some of the public, all too frequently, do not accept the responsibility side of the equation and they can turn to anarchy, where the rights of the bad outweigh those of the good and vexatious legislation is the order of the day. A US infection rapidily spreading in the UK.

    Is that what you want Andrew?

  5. Magna Carta, if you bother to read it, merely enshrines the rights of the "Haves". Go away, read Plato's Republic, and then come back and tell me that our so-called democracy works.

    Plato actually said that democracy turns into despotism (or anarchy) so you have already confirmed what someone 24 centuries ago predicted.

  6. You back on your Walt Disney characters again, Andrew? Seriously it is not even totally certain that Plato even existed after all, there is far more ancient written evidence to support the existence of Jesus Christ and some people doubt that.

    What would you have in place of democracy? How would a leaderless society function? It is all very well knocking the system but, unless you can offer something better, it is meaningless. By the way, have you changed your name for your style is familiar?

  7. Its not just the media they are trying to bully, according to Radio Kent this morning, following the decision of KCC to close care homes, the staff have been instructed not to talk to the press.

  8. They hate the light, crank it up people.

  9. Anon 6:47PM it would seem that no matter what is happening with interesting debate on this site, you invariably manage to kill it off with one of your links to some piece of literary diarrhoe.

  10. Just trying to warn our young people of the hazards of the dangerous and ineffective Gardasil vaccine scam, old fruit. Problem with that?

  11. Just how many young people do you think spend their Satursdays, or any other days for that matter, reading comments on blogs! It is only old fruits, as you like to describe us, with nothing better to do with our time.

    In other words your efforts are all in vain and it would be more fun if we had a sensible debate for a change.