Tuesday, 21 June 2011

When is a Thanet District Council Press Release not a Press Release?

Two rather bizarre things relating to TDC press releases occurred today.

One being that the council announced that their accounts would be available for inspection in the Latest News part of their website’s homepage, but excluded this news from their news feed.

I have written to them asking what they are up to, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/611/id10.htm

The other being that after not having received any press releases from the council since I was blackballed as a member of the non council accredited media I received a press release from the today, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/611/id9.htm

I don’t know if this means I have now been reaccredited and should start posting press releases again, or if this was just an error, I have written to the press department see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/611/id11.htm although this could be tricky as if they still see me as unaccredited then presumably the won’t be able to reply to me to tell me that they have made a mistake. 

I suppose that instead of just asking the people who I think probably made some sort of mistake when trying to use TDCIT, I should have made a foi request and waited about a month for some sort of answer.

I don’t really know what has happened here, by this I mean.

Did the council accounts department really mean not to include their news release in the news feeds? It doesn’t look like a deliberate attempt to conceal anything or they wouldn’t have published it on their homepage. Added to this did the they just miss out saying when and where their accounts would be available on the internet or are the deliberately making it very difficult for ordinary working local people to view them?

Has the council decided that the four local blogs that regularly cover local news can receive press releases again? Or did someone press the wrong button when sending out this particular press release? Or even will the council only be sending me good news releases and excluding anything that could warrant further investigation or comment like the council’s accounts?

There is also the this very peculiar problem of which TDC officers have been forbidden from replying to me? 

It is very difficult to know how to proceed with this one, I think the councils objective here may be to try and classify my requests as vexatious and so my bunging off simple is this some sort of mistake emails to officers may be used collectively as justification to stop me from receiving information altogether.

The nearest I can get to how this feels, from my point of view, is having published a lot of what can only really be seen as local news stories, mainly because either they effected me directly or just because they interested me, finding that a lot of other local people are reading them. The pages viewed thing at the bottom of the sidebar is registering over 20,000, I now find that I have a certain responsibility to my readers.

Take yesterday’s post as an example, there is a council funded public consultation going on in the three main Thanet shopping centres this week, I don’t know how much this cost in terms of spending our council tax. I do know that it says on Eurokent’s website that if you want to know you should send an foi request to TDC.

The obvious question here and one I would have asked the TDC press department is why they haven publicised the consultation? Of course I could put in a foi request for this information, but wouldn’t have got a reply until after the consultation was over.       


  1. Its not a press release if it comes from Hannah Thorpe, Corporate Communications and Marketing Officer.

    Marketing is different apparently, I imagine that you probably had a considerable uplift in readers as visitors sought out information for the big event, etc.

    Hopefully some of the more enlightened parts of the council realise that we are to some extent more mainstream than some conservatives view us, when people want information about events such Love music hate racism, Dickens Festival or Big Event as they are happening, generally they can turn to blogs like ours which carry pictures etc, whilst events are fresh and not when they've become history.

  2. "There is also the this very peculiar problem of which TDC officers have been forbidden from replying to me?"

    Ah, you must be one of thos "vexatious questioners" who they dislike so much. The definition of a vexatious questioner is anybody who asks awkward questions which they don't want to answer.

    How do we get rid of this shower?

  3. Tony sorry I misunderstood that one and assumed that as it had news release on it and contact the press and media manager that is what it was.

    The blogs stats seem to vary at between 500 to 900 views a day recently, but no I didn’t seem to get extra for the big event. The most interest recently has been the Dancing Queen and the Meltdown.

    My fault really as I couldn’t persuade two of the youf of today that watching a lot of old men (anyone over 20) watching aeroplanes was more interesting that dressing up as Victorian.

    I think my Youtube viewings tell the whole story, one of my Dancing Queen videos had over 1,000 viewings in the 24 hours that the blog post that it was embedded in was on top.

    I can’t seem to find any videos for this years Big event that have had over 100 viewings.

    When it comes to pictures and videos I am becoming convinced that readers want to see people they know and not things like aeroplanes where there is professionally made material available.

    16.36 You could say that these people have made me irritated but not to the point of being vexatious, I have I didn’t get any response from them so have made two official complaints and there will be at least one foi request tomorrow.

    If I start to feel vexatious I would expect the number of complaints and foi requests in a day to run into double figures.

  4. I wonder how they will show the ch execs & regen directors pay off in the accounts... will in be under envelopes...or we don't come from thanet so we don't care.

  5. 'Reinstate the bog' !!

  6. Michael,

    You say, "My fault really as I couldn’t persuade two of the youf of today that watching a lot of old men (anyone over 20) watching aeroplanes was more interesting that dressing up as Victorian."

    You could have reminded them that the Spitfire and Hurricane were in the main flown and fought by teenagers.

  7. Remembering how hard they made it to find the governance consultation are you surprised that the shopping centre one is equally well camouflaged?

  8. 2.49 as the thing says you have the opportunity to question the district auditor, however I think you will find that the council have acted within the rules.

    8.55 sorry about the typo, I touch type rather fast and badly and am afraid that proof reading is mainly what gets underlined by the spellchecker, unlike the council officers, to who I am writing, to I don’t get paid for doing this, so I don’t really give it that much time.

    John possibly a crossed wire here, they are both nine and did the Spitfire and Hurricane Museum last week, what with the problem of where to park, where to shelter when I rained and how to get home in time for homework, Dickens Festival became the only option.

    If I had thought it out better I could have parked up fairly close to Margate seafront while they were at church and having their lunch, but as it was sorry no hundreds of pictures and a few videos this year.

    Ogmois, thought you had gone what with the Roman conquest of Gaul, 1066 and all that.

    It is so hard to tell what is down to Parkinson’s Law and what is really an attempt to conceal, however I think this one is particularly embarrassing for TDC and KCC, the amounts of money spent seem to be colossal and the results very poor.

    The rather strange attempts to use the road layout for an industrial estate, that apparently cost millions and seem to be totally unsuitable for a residential area sum it up for me.

    Added to this is the use of Margate Media Centre, which seems to be some peculiar use of an old bank in Margate, for not very much, by the council at considerable public expense. If you get a chance to go there on Thursday it could be interesting to find out what this media centre actually does.

  9. I have to say I'm impressed at the number of people who have recognised my Celtic identity!
    I don't think much has changed at Thanet Towers; the desire to keep us in the dark is still strong.

  10. Just searcheed for Margate Media Centre. I no longer need to worry about Thanets regeneration. TDC seem to be doing so well

  11. Appreciate Don's irony.

  12. And his Promote Faversham & Sittingbourne blog.

  13. Words fail me!


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