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news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Greenwich Council spin chief bags 25% pay rise

with 14 comments

As trade unionists and Labour Party members march to protest against the government’s cuts, it’s emerged one of Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts’ most loyal lieutenants has been given a 25% pay rise.

Communications boss Katrina Delaney has been given her reward for years of keeping him and the council out of trouble by being promoted to a new role as “director of culture, media and sport”. The position was not advertised to the public, and the decision has not yet been published on the council’s website.

Delaney, who as assistant chief executive (communications and community engagement) oversaw the council’s rebranding as “Royal Greenwich” earlier this year, sees her annual pay go up from £100,000 to £125,000. You can see the job ad here, as well as the job description.

I’m told from within the town hall that taxpayers will ultimately save money, as her new role is part of a restructuring which does away with other positions.

But it’s ultimately a recognition of the work put in protecting Greenwich Council’s reputation, while other councils – particularly neighbouring Bexley, the yardstick many in the council test themselves against – have been bogged down in rows with the public.

Greenwich has managed to avoid this by simply ignoring people – whether they are members of the public, journalists, its own councillors or other elected London bodies – and pressing on with its own agenda, regardless of what others may say.

A good example came earlier this week. According to opposition leader Spencer Drury, councillors have been told Greenwich is continuing refusing to fund the Blackheath fireworks because “we have not been asked” – despite the fact Lewisham Council has just launched another appeal for funds. Greenwich always does things its own way, and doesn’t reach out.

Indeed, it even sets its own agenda by publishing its own weekly newspaper, Greenwich Time, putting a glossy spin on the council’s achievements before other media outlets can get to them. Aided by an feeble local media – and the fact that many outlets would rather chase after Conservative councils’ wrong-doings – it largely works.

Of course, all this breeds resentment on the ground, particularly in less high-profile parts of the borough – there’s some gems in this News Shopper story about Abbey Wood.

On a professional level, she’s saved the council’s hides a few times. Journalists like to get two sides of the story – so when one side of the story takes days to get back to you, some are often deterred from pursuing the story.

But such a strategy can only go on for so long – as we’ve seen in the foot tunnels fiasco, which the council has ignored for months, only for it to blow up in its face. Releasing a bland press release on a Friday night also failed to hide the story – even the Evening Standard covered it – and BBC London News is covering the story in its bulletins today, featuring some bigmouth from Charlton.

And perhaps if people stick around to follow the foot tunnel story, they might find more to dig around. Who knows what “hidden structures” might be found beneath the council?

Written by Darryl

20 October, 2012 at 1:07 pm

14 Responses

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  1. [...] … and, of course: Greenwich Council spin chief bags 25% pay rise. [...]

  2. Perhaps I am wrong, but doesn’t Greenwich council have an Equal Opportunities Policy?? If it does, then where is the equal opportunity for people to apply for that job that was never advertised externally?? Not that that would have made a difference anyway. I will have to leave a lot of things unsaid about all this, as they would not be printable.

    pinking shears

    20 October, 2012 at 1:58 pm

  3. Is there a source for the assertion that it was never advertised to the public?

    Certainly, looking at the web address that Google finds for the job ad (https://royalboroughofgreenwich.tal.net/vx/mobile-0/system-73/appcentre-Internal/brand-2/wid-1/candidate/so/pm/3/pl/3/opp/252-Director-of-Culture-Sport-Media/en-GB) it’s reasonable to guess that it was internal-only (going into the jobs search engine from the website throws up “/appcentre-External/” in the middle of the address), but even so, advertising it internally almost certainly complies with the council’s Equal Opps policy.

    From the standpoint of encouraging career progression, reducing staff turnover and therefore reducing recruitment costs, internal promotion’s fairly reasonable …

    John

    20 October, 2012 at 7:59 pm

  4. I don’t blow my sources, John.

    Darryl

    20 October, 2012 at 8:09 pm

  5. When I was in PR there were several clients who wanted to be kept out of the news – we were rewarded for silence and non-appearance. Greenwich Council would have fitted in well to the list.

    Greenwich Liberal

    20 October, 2012 at 8:18 pm

  6. [...] This Council event announcement ,with the Lewisham-only description, reads as if this will be a permanent non-arrangement with Lewisham. When the funding was initially withdrawn in 2010 the Council blamed Coalition cuts (which includes the “vile Liberal Democrats” as the Council Leader affectionately calls us), 2011 saw further non-participation, one presumes for the same reason, and now nothing again. It is a spurious argument to cry out about saving hospitals or schools, rather than public entertainment, because a society benefits from the latter as well as the former in terms of quality of life. In any event we are not talking about millions – the cost was about £37,000 in 2010, broadly the same sum was paid by Lewisham Council, Greenwich Council and private sponsorship. If it’s a case of trading one cost against another, arguments were made last year by my colleague Paul Webbewood and others over the similar cost of the Mayoral Inauguration and more recently money seems to be available for council officers who protect the famous secrecy of Greenwich Council. [...]

  7. Hey Darryl, just a grammatical query: “she’s saved the council’s hides a few times”. Should it not be a singular hide since the council is a singular entity, albeit having many constituent hides?

    Bob

    22 October, 2012 at 10:45 am

  8. More than just one arse at the council? Hmmm.

    Darryl

    22 October, 2012 at 3:06 pm

  9. Greenwich Council really is The Thick Of It come to life with Katrina Delaney peddling spin as fast as Malcolm Tucker. I think this just demonstrates how unaccountable Greenwich Council is with people being promoted because if their loyalty rather than their ability. Might as well give up on local elections here as the Dictatorship is here to stay.

    Bob

    23 October, 2012 at 7:21 am

  10. [...] then it’s worth remembering Greenwich pulled out to save £37,000. This year, Greenwich has treated its head of PR to a £25,000 pay rise, and has blown at least £114,000 on royal borough celebrations. The whole sorry tale of how [...]

  11. [...] you’re the PR boss of a London borough, earning £125,000 a year. You’ve cooked up a campaign to get a new road tunnel built which is going to lead to even [...]

  12. [...] the handsome salary dished out to Greenwich’s head of press, the council could probably have done without the legend “Softheads” above regeneration [...]

  13. [...] on the ground or even the views of its own residents. This award is why Roberts’ PR chief bagged a 25% pay rise last [...]

  14. […] Eventually, two minions delivered a written statement. This being Michael Crick, it was delivered on camera, and then the minions were seen on camera legging it. This is clearly a PR nightmare for the council – but why did nobody speak on camera? This has happened before – in 2011, Chris Roberts ran away from what should have been a straightforward talk with the BBC’s Mark Easton about central government cuts. It appears nobody can do crisis PR – despite the £25,000 pay rise Roberts’ spin doctor Katrina Delaney got last year. […]


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