Toad of Town Hall
When we consider the nepotism, cronyism and obsequious careerism that pervades Wirral Council (and indeed within other parts of the ‘Wirral Partnership’) we could be forgiven for thinking the Wirral Council newspaper publication should be called Wirral Toady and not Wirral Today.
Yes folks – they’ve finally decided on a title for their tatty rag as this extract from this leaked Stressed Eric Exec View staff newsletter reveals –
I finished my latest set of roadshow meetings with staff last week. Thanks to everyone who came along.
I felt that I, and you, got the most out of those sessions where lots of varied questions were put forward and we could have a proper, open conversation.
It’s always interesting and useful for me to hear about what’s important to different staff groups in different areas.
Devolution was a common topic, as was the budget and whether we’re likely to see any change in our financial situation under the new Prime Minister. Questions around the future direction of the council, how we are progressing with our 2020 pledges and whether there are any plans for major restructures of the authority in coming months also came up.
There were a number of questions about the new publication we’re planning to produce so I thought it might be helpful to reflect on some of the discussions.
(There’s a lot of background information to the publication which is included in the Cabinet report, so I won’t go over that again. The Cabinet report is here.)
Fundamentally, the aim is to increase how informed our local people are. Last year’s residents survey showed us that a lot of people want more information about services and their communities. This publication, Wirral Today, will provide this.
We’ve opted for a printed publication that will be delivered through the letterbox of every home and business and copies will be available in places like libraries and train stations.
It might seem an unusual step to revert to a printed product, and even I queried this at first. However, there is a lot of research and evidence from other councils that shows residents who receive information from their council, directly to them at home, are more informed about local services and are in turn, happier and more satisfied with their area and their council.
An online-only approach won’t work in the same way, but we will have a website and social media that links to and supports the publication.
It’s important that staff, teams and managers from across the council submit ideas for stories and features. No-one has a monopoly on good ideas so it’s vital that everyone feels they can, and knows how to, contribute.
There is a dedicated email address where you can submit ideas for stories or features and it’s WTNews@wirral.gov.uk Soon you will also be able to make suggestions and submissions through the intranet too. Our Communications and Marketing team are working on the publication and they plan to visit teams to talk about how you can be a part of the process. If you’d like them to visit you, email WTNews@wirral.gov.uk
It’s really important that this publication includes information from our partners and community groups so we’re working on how we pull all that content together now.
Once again, thank you to everyone who came along to a staff roadshow. I’ll be doing another set in the early new year sometime, as it’s important for us to carry on the conversation.
If you have any further questions, comments or suggestions for me in the meantime, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Now we have to say Stressed Eric has gone up in our estimation as he seems to be demonstrating a new found flair for comedy.
‘It might seem an unusual step to revert to a printed product, and even I queried this at first’ he says whilst failing to add …..‘ but then Martin Liptrot told me to get back in my corner’.
He then goes on to say – without the slightest hint of irony :’No-one has a monopoly on good ideas so it’s vital that everyone feels they can, and knows how to, contribute.’
But surely this is what this publication is all about – managing the message and controlling the public. To the power abusers of Wallasey Town Hall Wirral is a giant Monopoly board or as someone much cleverer than us once said – “a monopoly on the means of communication may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of monopoly in the means of production” .
Having said all that we’re still looking forward to the first edition of Wirral Toady , sorry Wirral Today and the endless possibilities for satire it is sure to provide.
We predict the front cover of the first edition will be about how well Wirral Council is doing supporting disabled people or children or combatting hunger. Any other suggestions send to : Wirralleaks@gmail.com
Meanwhile here’s Wirral Council’s fortnightly appearance on Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs page and their take on Wirral Today.