LABOUR councillors in Camden got their PR right this week and can be pretty happy with a double page spread in The Guardian today which has them agonising to just the right level over the cuts they agreed at cabinet on Wednesday night. That’s not to say they haven’t agonised, it’s just important to be seen agonising too.
Their message that it’s not our fault, it’s all down to the government shines through in The Guardian how they would have hoped. It is, of course, the exact message that opposition councillors disagree with – and on Monday night Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will insist Labour has more choices open to them locally than has been claimed. Everybody is all ears.
To be fair, The Guardian put in the leg work. They visited the Great Croft resource centre which is facing closure and turned up to the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, an effort not made by some notable exceptions in the press box. But, lucky-lucky!, they were also afforded the rare opportunity of taking pictures during a cabinet meeting (the idea of that has sometimes been frowned upon in the past) and journalist Amelia Gentleman scored a one to one meeting in the ‘wood-panelled’ offices with council boss Moira Gibb.
The chief exec explained in that interview how morale was becoming a factor in that tsunami of cuts:
The HR specialists tell me that there’s something called ‘engagement’. If you are an employee who feels engaged, if you are looked after, cared for, listened to, and have had things explained to you, there’s something like an extra 10%-20% contribution you can make. Maintaining morale is a big responsibility.
AG no doubt earned her stars with the council last year when she had an all access pass for a G2er on Camden’s child protection unit. I think it might be a while before anybody at the Camden New Journal earns enough points to sit down with Moira like that for an hour.