Fury over claims taxpayers' money went on 'propaganda'

Councillor Peter McDonad, Labour group leader at the county council

Councillor Peter McDonad, Labour group leader at the county council

First published in Local Droitwich Advertiser: Tom Edwards by , Political Reporter

MORE than £34,000 of taxpayers' money has gone on a Worcestershire County Council campaign to tell people where their cash is going - with critics attacking it as "blatant political propaganda".

The cash-strapped authority has launched a four-month long campaign called 'You said, we did' which has seen bus shelters across Worcestershire covered with posters.

The huge marketing effort aims to tell people what the council's main priorities are, citing helping businesses, supporting children and families, protecting the environment and health.

But the posters have been described as "wasteful" by pressure group the Taxpayers Alliance and "stupid" by the opposition Labour group, which is calling for an investigation by the council's spending watchdog, the audit committee.

Around £100 million is being cut from spending over the next four years and 1,500 jobs are expected to be axed.

The council insists the money was well spent because it informs people what the main focus of the leadership is.

Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: "At a time of major cutbacks to much needed services and over one 1,500 employees facing the cut, the council is throwing away hard working families’ council tax on this ridiculous campaign to the tune of £34,200.

‘You said we did’, is a barmy campaign, it is as far from the truth as you can get.

"The people of Worcestershire have been protesting about the cuts to our libraries, buses, youth provision, social care, yet no service has been spared.

"The public purse should never be used to fund such propaganda."

The Taxpayers Alliance says most voters would rather money spent on services.

A spokesman said: "If you ask ordinary people, they want their taxes to go on services, not PR.

"Councils have been getting away with this for too long."

The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people, and say it is the "most cost effective" way of making contact.

The campaign also features on the council's website and is advertised on posters inside the main County Hall headquarters.

A spokesman for the council said: "It is important the council continues to listen to local people and to inform them how taxpayers' money is being spent.

"The council's four priorities were informed by talking with approximately 35,000 residents and businesses.

"The council is providing feedback on its delivery against these four priorities, which local people said were important.

"The poster sites have been selected in areas which will be seen by a high volume of people, making this an efficient method of communicating with a large audience."

Comments (18)

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11:16am Wed 23 Apr 14

CJH says...

"The poster sites have been selected in areas which will be seen by a high volume of people, making this an efficient method of communicating with a large audience." Just shows how out of touch they are. Putting posters in bus shelters will only reach the monority who travel by bus, and I should think a large percentage of those will be school children.
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"A spokesman for the council said: "It is important the council continues to listen to local people and to inform them how taxpayers' money is being spent." No, you're not listening to us, as you demonstrate over and over again. I don't go around telling people how well I do my job, I just get on and do it! Roll on the elections...
"The poster sites have been selected in areas which will be seen by a high volume of people, making this an efficient method of communicating with a large audience." Just shows how out of touch they are. Putting posters in bus shelters will only reach the monority who travel by bus, and I should think a large percentage of those will be school children. . "A spokesman for the council said: "It is important the council continues to listen to local people and to inform them how taxpayers' money is being spent." No, you're not listening to us, as you demonstrate over and over again. I don't go around telling people how well I do my job, I just get on and do it! Roll on the elections... CJH
  • Score: 18

12:03pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Jabbadad says...

If these posters are for public information the ones that I am aware of do NOT SAY ANYTHING about the SLASH & BURN POLICIES that this CONservative COUNTY COUNCIL are applying when CUTTING SERVICES for VUNERABLE & OLDER PEOPLES SERVICES plus HUGE INCREASES SOME 77% in the services provided to those who are entitled to access, making them among the third highest increases in the Country. And if there hadn't been such an outcry before the forthcoming elections they would have, and will probably still undertake these cuts after the elections since we have the CONservatives don't we?.
If these posters are for public information the ones that I am aware of do NOT SAY ANYTHING about the SLASH & BURN POLICIES that this CONservative COUNTY COUNCIL are applying when CUTTING SERVICES for VUNERABLE & OLDER PEOPLES SERVICES plus HUGE INCREASES SOME 77% in the services provided to those who are entitled to access, making them among the third highest increases in the Country. And if there hadn't been such an outcry before the forthcoming elections they would have, and will probably still undertake these cuts after the elections since we have the CONservatives don't we?. Jabbadad
  • Score: 5

1:01pm Wed 23 Apr 14

YailBloor50 says...

"The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people."

That must be a typo, given that the population of Worcestershire can't be more than a few hundred thousand people. Or have they cracked?
"The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people." That must be a typo, given that the population of Worcestershire can't be more than a few hundred thousand people. Or have they cracked? YailBloor50
  • Score: -1

1:27pm Wed 23 Apr 14

skychip says...

The County Council seem a law unto themselves. They never have to answer for the money they spend/waste.
The County Council seem a law unto themselves. They never have to answer for the money they spend/waste. skychip
  • Score: 9

1:29pm Wed 23 Apr 14

i-cycle says...

Abolish the County.

Merge it with the Districts to create a Unitary for Worcestershire.

Save millions in unnecessary bureaucracy, greater efficiencies and reduced pay and allowances for politicians and senior management.

Plough the savings back into protecting vital front line services.

Makes complete sense and particularly as most services are to be 'privatised' and the key decisions left for our politicians will mainly be to decide which private company gets a contract.

Now I wonder why our political masters aren't pushing this option as a better way to find savings than sacking staff and cutting services?
Abolish the County. Merge it with the Districts to create a Unitary for Worcestershire. Save millions in unnecessary bureaucracy, greater efficiencies and reduced pay and allowances for politicians and senior management. Plough the savings back into protecting vital front line services. Makes complete sense and particularly as most services are to be 'privatised' and the key decisions left for our politicians will mainly be to decide which private company gets a contract. Now I wonder why our political masters aren't pushing this option as a better way to find savings than sacking staff and cutting services? i-cycle
  • Score: 3

1:30pm Wed 23 Apr 14

CJH says...

YailBloor50 wrote:
"The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people."

That must be a typo, given that the population of Worcestershire can't be more than a few hundred thousand people. Or have they cracked?
Another gross exaggeration from the council. Of course it could be that the WN have given incorrect info. But as no-one ever proof reads anything we may never know...
[quote][p][bold]YailBloor50[/bold] wrote: "The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people." That must be a typo, given that the population of Worcestershire can't be more than a few hundred thousand people. Or have they cracked?[/p][/quote]Another gross exaggeration from the council. Of course it could be that the WN have given incorrect info. But as no-one ever proof reads anything we may never know... CJH
  • Score: 5

3:45pm Wed 23 Apr 14

brooksider says...

YailBloor50 wrote:
"The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people."

That must be a typo, given that the population of Worcestershire can't be more than a few hundred thousand people. Or have they cracked?
Geraghty maths.
But this is dwarfed by the payments to Consultants, £437,000 in February alone.
[quote][p][bold]YailBloor50[/bold] wrote: "The council says the entire campaign could be seen by 28 million people." That must be a typo, given that the population of Worcestershire can't be more than a few hundred thousand people. Or have they cracked?[/p][/quote]Geraghty maths. But this is dwarfed by the payments to Consultants, £437,000 in February alone. brooksider
  • Score: 7

4:02pm Wed 23 Apr 14

YailBloor50 says...

I'm guessing that a decimal has gone missing, but still 2.8 million is a crazy number—crazy enough that it automatically begs the question, 'how did the council arrive at that figure'? It probably comes from the PR/marketing company that I'm assuming sold the council the idea in the first place.

CJH: considering how overworked and underpaid the editorial staff at WN are, I don't think they do too badly.
I'm guessing that a decimal has gone missing, but still 2.8 million is a crazy number—crazy enough that it automatically begs the question, 'how did the council arrive at that figure'? It probably comes from the PR/marketing company that I'm assuming sold the council the idea in the first place. CJH: considering how overworked and underpaid the editorial staff at WN are, I don't think they do too badly. YailBloor50
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Wed 23 Apr 14

CJH says...

YailBloor50 wrote:
I'm guessing that a decimal has gone missing, but still 2.8 million is a crazy number—crazy enough that it automatically begs the question, 'how did the council arrive at that figure'? It probably comes from the PR/marketing company that I'm assuming sold the council the idea in the first place.

CJH: considering how overworked and underpaid the editorial staff at WN are, I don't think they do too badly.
"considering how overworked and underpaid the editorial staff at WN are, I don't think they do too badly." I'm sure they're all perfectly nice people, but that does not excuse not spending few seconds with a spellchecker, using correct grammar, and querying a few obvious things like '28 million'. As a reporter, was it not a noticeable thing to query? No-one is perfect, but the standard of reporting has deteriorated recently, and more people are commenting on it.
[quote][p][bold]YailBloor50[/bold] wrote: I'm guessing that a decimal has gone missing, but still 2.8 million is a crazy number—crazy enough that it automatically begs the question, 'how did the council arrive at that figure'? It probably comes from the PR/marketing company that I'm assuming sold the council the idea in the first place. CJH: considering how overworked and underpaid the editorial staff at WN are, I don't think they do too badly.[/p][/quote]"considering how overworked and underpaid the editorial staff at WN are, I don't think they do too badly." I'm sure they're all perfectly nice people, but that does not excuse not spending few seconds with a spellchecker, using correct grammar, and querying a few obvious things like '28 million'. As a reporter, was it not a noticeable thing to query? No-one is perfect, but the standard of reporting has deteriorated recently, and more people are commenting on it. CJH
  • Score: 3

10:56pm Wed 23 Apr 14

YailBloor50 says...

CJH: anyone would think that Newsquest made all of its Worcester-based subeditors - the guys that check spelling and grammar, and spot silly mistakes - redundant. As far as I'm aware, WN and all of the other West Midlands titles get subbed (badly) in Newport now.
CJH: anyone would think that Newsquest made all of its Worcester-based subeditors - the guys that check spelling and grammar, and spot silly mistakes - redundant. As far as I'm aware, WN and all of the other West Midlands titles get subbed (badly) in Newport now. YailBloor50
  • Score: -3

12:54am Thu 24 Apr 14

Jabbadad says...

Possibly much further afield than that.
Possibly much further afield than that. Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

1:48am Thu 24 Apr 14

CJH says...

YailBloor50 wrote:
CJH: anyone would think that Newsquest made all of its Worcester-based subeditors - the guys that check spelling and grammar, and spot silly mistakes - redundant. As far as I'm aware, WN and all of the other West Midlands titles get subbed (badly) in Newport now.
It is a pity, but as Hunter S Thompson said: "As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity." Perhaps some journalists need reminding why they joined in the first place. And some newspaper owners need to be reminded that second hand 'news' cut and pasted from Twitter or Facebook does not make a newspaper.
[quote][p][bold]YailBloor50[/bold] wrote: CJH: anyone would think that Newsquest made all of its Worcester-based subeditors - the guys that check spelling and grammar, and spot silly mistakes - redundant. As far as I'm aware, WN and all of the other West Midlands titles get subbed (badly) in Newport now.[/p][/quote]It is a pity, but as Hunter S Thompson said: "As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity." Perhaps some journalists need reminding why they joined in the first place. And some newspaper owners need to be reminded that second hand 'news' cut and pasted from Twitter or Facebook does not make a newspaper. CJH
  • Score: 4

8:44am Thu 24 Apr 14

green49 says...

Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want,
Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want, green49
  • Score: 7

8:16pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Landy44 says...

Words fail me - they must think we're as stupid as they clearly are! When will it end?
Words fail me - they must think we're as stupid as they clearly are! When will it end? Landy44
  • Score: 4

9:19pm Thu 24 Apr 14

i-cycle says...

green49 wrote:
Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want,
I wouldn't go that far, but perhaps the best answer is actually to get rid of the whole County and District Council structure and replace it with a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. its a much better way of saving £ millions each and every year, reduces bureaucracy and increases efficiency. Add to that a devolution of revenue raising powers and decision making from Central Government and beef up the role of parch and town councils and we may even get back to a local democratic structure that can and will make a difference and is worth getting out to vote for.
[quote][p][bold]green49[/bold] wrote: Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want,[/p][/quote]I wouldn't go that far, but perhaps the best answer is actually to get rid of the whole County and District Council structure and replace it with a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. its a much better way of saving £ millions each and every year, reduces bureaucracy and increases efficiency. Add to that a devolution of revenue raising powers and decision making from Central Government and beef up the role of parch and town councils and we may even get back to a local democratic structure that can and will make a difference and is worth getting out to vote for. i-cycle
  • Score: 1

10:03pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Andy_R says...

i-cycle wrote:
green49 wrote:
Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want,
I wouldn't go that far, but perhaps the best answer is actually to get rid of the whole County and District Council structure and replace it with a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. its a much better way of saving £ millions each and every year, reduces bureaucracy and increases efficiency. Add to that a devolution of revenue raising powers and decision making from Central Government and beef up the role of parch and town councils and we may even get back to a local democratic structure that can and will make a difference and is worth getting out to vote for.
An entirely sensible post that I agree with almost all of,and no mention of bikes... who are you and what have you done with i-cycle? :-)
[quote][p][bold]i-cycle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]green49[/bold] wrote: Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want,[/p][/quote]I wouldn't go that far, but perhaps the best answer is actually to get rid of the whole County and District Council structure and replace it with a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. its a much better way of saving £ millions each and every year, reduces bureaucracy and increases efficiency. Add to that a devolution of revenue raising powers and decision making from Central Government and beef up the role of parch and town councils and we may even get back to a local democratic structure that can and will make a difference and is worth getting out to vote for.[/p][/quote]An entirely sensible post that I agree with almost all of,and no mention of bikes... who are you and what have you done with i-cycle? :-) Andy_R
  • Score: 3

10:27pm Thu 24 Apr 14

i-cycle says...

Andy_R wrote:
i-cycle wrote:
green49 wrote:
Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want,
I wouldn't go that far, but perhaps the best answer is actually to get rid of the whole County and District Council structure and replace it with a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. its a much better way of saving £ millions each and every year, reduces bureaucracy and increases efficiency. Add to that a devolution of revenue raising powers and decision making from Central Government and beef up the role of parch and town councils and we may even get back to a local democratic structure that can and will make a difference and is worth getting out to vote for.
An entirely sensible post that I agree with almost all of,and no mention of bikes... who are you and what have you done with i-cycle? :-)
You've obviously not read my response to your other 'post' yet!

Seriously, I'm not advocating everyone stops using cars. They are vital to the way our society works. What I'm trying to convey is that everyone benefits from more people walking, cycling or using public transport for those shorter journeys.

From a personal perspective 'active travel' can play a vital role in helping us personally to build regular exercise into our daily lives so we are healthier and more productive and less of a burden on the NHS and taxpayer.

Car sharing and better planning in terms of the car journeys you do make can also make a difference in terms of congestion.
[quote][p][bold]Andy_R[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]i-cycle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]green49[/bold] wrote: Hardman is the man in charge, SACK HIM he is full of **** and uses false information at council meetings as he instructs his officers to supply to get the results he and his CONservatives want,[/p][/quote]I wouldn't go that far, but perhaps the best answer is actually to get rid of the whole County and District Council structure and replace it with a Unitary Authority for the whole of Worcestershire. its a much better way of saving £ millions each and every year, reduces bureaucracy and increases efficiency. Add to that a devolution of revenue raising powers and decision making from Central Government and beef up the role of parch and town councils and we may even get back to a local democratic structure that can and will make a difference and is worth getting out to vote for.[/p][/quote]An entirely sensible post that I agree with almost all of,and no mention of bikes... who are you and what have you done with i-cycle? :-)[/p][/quote]You've obviously not read my response to your other 'post' yet! Seriously, I'm not advocating everyone stops using cars. They are vital to the way our society works. What I'm trying to convey is that everyone benefits from more people walking, cycling or using public transport for those shorter journeys. From a personal perspective 'active travel' can play a vital role in helping us personally to build regular exercise into our daily lives so we are healthier and more productive and less of a burden on the NHS and taxpayer. Car sharing and better planning in terms of the car journeys you do make can also make a difference in terms of congestion. i-cycle
  • Score: 0

10:28am Sun 18 May 14

Dr Martin says...

YailBloor50 wrote:
CJH: anyone would think that Newsquest made all of its Worcester-based subeditors - the guys that check spelling and grammar, and spot silly mistakes - redundant. As far as I'm aware, WN and all of the other West Midlands titles get subbed (badly) in Newport now.
Here was me thinking you were just a "sock" account, do you do anything else rather than moan about grammar and punctuation?
[quote][p][bold]YailBloor50[/bold] wrote: CJH: anyone would think that Newsquest made all of its Worcester-based subeditors - the guys that check spelling and grammar, and spot silly mistakes - redundant. As far as I'm aware, WN and all of the other West Midlands titles get subbed (badly) in Newport now.[/p][/quote]Here was me thinking you were just a "sock" account, do you do anything else rather than moan about grammar and punctuation? Dr Martin
  • Score: 0

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