Newcastle City Council has staff employed to do things like make videos for the council Facebook site. #wrongpriorities

February 11, 2016 12:57 PM
In Facebook, Twitter

At a time when libraries under threat, we need knowledge not propaganda.

The Council says : As part of a 50% reduction in the council's policy and communication team in last year's budget we merged policy and communication officer roles into a single job description. Across the two functions we now employ a core team of 15.5 FTEs . Of these roles around 9 individuals were previously communication officers. In comparison in 2009/10 we had 32 communication officers and about the same number of policy officers - have reduced the team every year since then. We have by some considerable distance the smallest policy and communication function of any core city and are much smallerthan most large authorities - including most of our neighbouring authorities.

Our base budget is £557,740 which we have been able to increase to £772,430 by generating income and temporary funding from things like advertising in city life and providing marketing support to regional activity at the LA7 level such as the Go Smarter sustainable transport campaign and the Generation North East youth employment campaign and providing technical support to ERDF funding bids. We generate additional income through our role managing the UK healthy cities network. We have also been allocated some temporary funding to support work on our website as part of the council's digital approach and from he council's transformation fund to support internal communication as the council goes through a period of considerable change. Together this income and temporary funding has allowed us to appoint a further 6 policy and communication officers on temporary contracts.

All staff in the policy and communication team members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and have or are working towards accredited practitioner role. Any public relations practitioner should be able to produce video content as it is an increasingly important part of their role - and basic core skill. It is expected that the whole team to be able to do this and they do so on a regular basis. It is not described specifically in anyone's job description - but is an implicit requirement for any PR practitioner.