• Councillors look at plans for new ‘reputation’ manager

    3rd May 2012 | News | Claire
  • The plans were debated at the Overview and Scrutiny meeting last Thursday, which recommended that the Cabinet set up a task and finish forum to look at the job description.

    This was agreed last night, with a final decision on the post to be made at a later date.

    Due to meeting clashes I was unable to attend both the OSC meeting and last night’s cabinet.  Although I am not a member of the cabinet as the ruling Conservative group only, is entitled to a place on this powerful committee.

    It is incredible that such a post can be justified when there have been redundancies of key posts and staff are working harder to try and cover vacancies.

    This post will have not one ounce of benefit to taxpayers. 

    And why is it proposed now after the budget for 2012/13 was agreed in February?

    Cabinet councillors last night also agreed to fund £6,500 to pay for a resident survey, which will track reputation.

    In a further move, councillors on the cabinet agreed last night to fund £5,000 a year to map population and economic profiles. 

    Page 33 of the agenda papers states that this is to ‘better understand the make up of our community.’

    Organisations that have a long-standing poor reputation might consider addressing the issues that create the poor reputation instead of trying to paper over the cracks, however tempting that may be. 

    I read every East Devon newspaper I can find every week and am struck by the volume of angry letters directed at officers, but more often, councillors.  The angry letters appear to be centred around one theme.  Steamrollering decisions and not listening to residents.  And that’s what needs to be fixed. 

    The solution is not rocket science, nor does it need a £41,000 a year reputation manager to churn out a barrage of positive press releases.

    If residents feel that they are listened to and that their views are GENUINELY taken into account when decisions are made, the angry letters, hostility and cynicism might slowly evaporate.