The Mayor’s press officers and comms people now number 265. Let us assume that the average cost to Londoners of these staff is £50K per head, ie an average salary of £30K plus on-costs of £20K per head per annum to recruit and manage them and put them in smart, new, IT equipped buildings. That adds up to a £13.25 million per annum bill which is another important element of the Mayor’s £100 million a year comms spending.
To get the 265 figure Assembly Members have had to ask the question three times, it has taken over a year and the Mayor has dissembled all the way.
LibDem AM Sally Hamwee kicked off when she asked on 15th November 2006:
How many marketing officers, communications officers, press officers and promotional officers are there at present in each of the functional bodies, the GLA and the Mayors Office? Can we have a breakdown of these figures by job title?
The answer is not available from the database of Mayor’s questions so you have to find the transcript and search through the PDF file here. When you do, you find that figures for Transport for London are missing, but there are still a whopping 73 without them. But at least they admitted to this omission. They conveniently forgot to mention the Metropolitan Police Service numbers and got away with fessing up to just two Metropolitan Police Authority people.
Hamwee reminded the Mayor again about the missing TfL numbers on 13th December and was given the answer 100. During the course of 2007 the total, 173, was used quite extensively by commentators to illustrate how profligate the Mayor was. Only even this huge figure omitted the MPS numbers.
Finally, on 12th September 2007 Tory AM Richard Barnes completed the jigsaw when he found out that the Metropolitan Police Service employs another 92 press and comms people.
So, the total is 265.