Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Is anyone policing Hackney's PR department?

Over the last 12 months it looks like only one senior Hackney Council officer has publicly argued against cuts in their department.

Polly Rance, head of the borough's media and communications department said her department should not be cut during the recession. But would she allow the heads of other council departments to defend themselves from job cuts in a public arena?

In her latest piece in PR Week she defends Hackney Today, part of her communications empire: Councils would welcome resolution on publications debate (April 21 2010)

In an earlier piece (October 9 2009) she made a case for maintaining the size of the communications department:"In a recession the need for clear, accessible comms is greater than ever, as residents seek advice on debt, jobs and housing."

Compare Rance's recession plan with that of another Hackney Council officer who has been in the press - Gifty Edila, head of the borough's legal department. When she was interviewed by The Lawyer in November 2009, she said: “We’re in a recession and that’s impacting on the public sector, but we have to make sure we streamline resources while recruiting really talented people to fill the large number of vacancies we carry.”

Phrases like "streamline" and "large number of vacancies" are not used by Rance.

Is the communications department on a level playing field with other council departments?

Another council officer who has been interviewed or written for the press in the last year is Risthardh Hare, group head in the borough's social services, he reviewed the film Precious for the Guardian.

There may be more - I haven't seen them.

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