Was culture bid too costly, or too cheap?
So, just how much was spent on the failed East Kent City of Culture bid? The answer: £50,000, in contributions of £10,000 each from Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet councils. Given that it failed to even make the long list, you could argue that it was not enough.
The most interesting aspect of the bill, details of which were released under the Freedom of Information Act, was the involvement of “the services of Seven Hills on promotion and advocacy”.
That is the PR company given a £250,000 contract by Kent County Council to promote the “Grow For It” campaign in east Kent to boost jobs and investment.
Given that all the councils have PR departments, staffed by professionals – why?
The breakdown of the costs also itemises £2,000 for launch events. The media seemed unaware of any formal “launch” so we are not sure where this money went.
The power of the press. After Off The Record highlighted the county council’s fixation with “multi agency hubs” in relation to almost anything it does, it seems there may be efforts to wean itself away from the habit.
So, plaudits to Conservative cabinet member Cllr Jenny Whittle who told her colleagues she would from now on be referring to “specialist children’s centres” for fear of being “named and shamed” by yours truly.
Perception is everything in politics so the proposal by KCC to hike up the mileage allowance by a stonking 47% really does not come across well. The justification that members should not be out of pocket will hardly impress voters. Let’s hope that HRMC doesn’t decide to chase tax arrears, as it is entitled to.