Should we be paying people to tell us half the story?

You might think that the council’s communications team, who are paid for from public funds, might feel they were under some kind of obligation to act impartially. They might be under an obligation but they show no signs of feeling it!

The council is forever highlighting its savings target of £85 million without putting it in any kind of context that allows people to understand that the real cuts are about 12.5% of total revenue. For instance see the latest issue of Around Ealing above.

The announcement yesterday of a welcome extension to the flats re-cycling service comes with no mention that the capital costs of the scheme, and a wider push to get recycling up, is to be entirely funded by £1.1 million of new money from central government. The Gazette picked up the story but it just lazily repeated the press release.

The first line of the official cabinet report says:

Approves the introduction of the recycling services outlined in paragraph 2.4 below as a result of receiving the external funding from the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) Weekly Collection Support Scheme (WCSS).

The background to this is that the council’s officers did well to bid for and win £1.1 million of new money from DCLG to improve the Borough’s re-cycling rate. But, it doesn’t suit the Labour party that this fact is shared with residents. Officers should not be colluding in this.

It is one thing for Labour councillors to only tell half of the story but when the council’s paid employees do it it is simply not on. I have written to the chief executive of the council to complain about the behaviour of his communications officers.

Update: As a result of my complaint to the chief executive the following line got added to the press release:

The above enhancements will be funded following a successful bid from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

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