Monday, March 10, 2008

More thoughts on Greenwich's publicity spending

I've gone on about the Council's publicity spending a few times now and have used the average spending of Bexley, Bromley and Croydon as a comparison.

However I've been thinking, perhaps that isn't fair, maybe other Council's spend more.

So on the fantastic Greenwich Watch I found a page that had a link for the publicity spending by all London boroughs. You can see that report here.

So what I thought I would do would be to find each of the boroughs that border Greenwich and compare their spending, here are the results in a handy table form.

Council1996 to 19972006 to 2007% Increase
Newham-£4 milion-
Greenwich£0.7 million£3.2 million329.2%
Tower Hamlets£1.3 million£2.3 million78.4%
Barking & Dagenham£0.6 million£2.3 million277.2%
Lewisham£0.7 million£2.1 million195.4%
Bromley£0.3 million£0.9 million215.8%
Bexley£0.3 million£0.7 million112.4%

What do we learn?
  • Greenwich is the 2nd highest spender on publicity.
  • The average spend of the other Councils is £2.05 million.
  • Greenwich spends an extra £1.15 million, 50% higher than our neighbours average.
  • Greenwich spends an extra £1.1 million when compared to our more populous neighbour Lewisham.
  • Greenwich has increased it's spending by significantly more than any of our neighbours.
It's better than thinking that the average spend is £0.8 million.

However spending over £1 million more than our neighbours average and more than £1 million more than Lewisham still isn't good.


Inspector Sands said...

I think this misses the point.

I don't care that much if Greenwich Council spends a lot on publicity, so long as it's effective. After all, the local media around here's useless, and London boroughs struggle to get their message out at the best of times.

However, it's clear from the green bin collections - where predictable teething problems are now turning into a smelly fiasco - that they still struggle to get their message out, despite the huge funds spent.

Incidentally, before people make tedious party political points, parts of Hammersmith & Fulham are covered in ads bigging up its new (Tory) administration's successes. Both parties are at it, and Greenwich's failures run deeper than that yah-boo-sucks tedium.

The real issue is the lack of accountability/scrutiny - a weak local media lets the council get away with the lot, and as someone said elsewhere, the Conservative Party's worst nightmare would be waking up and finding themselves in charge of the borough.

A root and branch chance of the whole bloody organisation - from its staff to its councillors - is needed.

Charlton Average said...

I think that there is a point to this.

When the Council are doing things like making cuts of £0.5 million to the parks budget or making a big noise about what a difference a one off injection of £3.3 million to our boroughs youth then I think that year on year spending £1 million more than our neighbours is a huge issue.

It's especially aggravating when then Council run around boasting that they share our priorities on what should be funded.

I do agree that the real root cause is the failure of the system in Greenwich.

We have a political group in charge of the Council who are incredibly disconnected from it's populace yet are assured of victory at each election.

What they do spend money on and where they choose to make cuts seem to clearly illustrate how little they really care about the people of this borough.

The two means by which they are meant to be kept in check, the media and the opposition, are both failing.

As for making party political points about this I've love to see the local Tories up making a great big shout about this issue, and I say that as a lifelong Labour supporter.

However they won't do that. In part because, as you say, Tory authorities elsewhere are up to the same tricks. And in part because you're right, they really don't want to run this borough. This is just a stepping stone to them as they try to move on to bigger things. Making a noise about it will just draw attention to how bad things are here, how bad they've let them become, and they just isn't in their interest.

Inspector Sands said...

Well, quite - what would the Tories say? If there was such a thing as debate, then the ruling party's shot the Tories' biggest fox - because the tax rise is so small. So the ruling party can turn around and suggest that the Tories would prefer to put tax up. So in terms of pure politics-as-it-is-practised in the UK, it's fairly clever. But not in the terms anywhere outside the kindergarten, or where you have to take responsibility for anything.

As you say, there are priorities that should come higher than publicity - but the council's all about self-preservation, rather than dealing with any issues.

Anonymous said...

Great point CA,

Of course there's a point to this!

A council that claims it has not got enough financial resources to deliver its services - is wasting a fortune on marketing!

Some people?