Sadly for Whitby and his minder from Central Office, James North, the whole thing backfired as the Post and Mail decided not to take the council-spun line entirely seriously. They made the mistake of actually reading the report, saw through what they were being fed and instead decided to sink their teeth into the flesh of Whitless and his cronies.
It was a desperate attempt to airbrush bad news. And it failed spectacularly... His plan was not just to accentuate the positive... but to ignore completely the negative aspects of the commission's corporate assessment report...Now, it is true to say that there some good signs of improvement, but there are some major problems highlighted by the report - consistently in areas of leadership and particularity on diversity issues. Surely in a city like Birmingham, diversity has to be a key issue. To fail this part of the assessment with a damning comment like this is an indictment of the failure of this administration:
Collectively, political and managerial leadership has been ineffective in delivering a corporate approach to equality and diversity. In particular its approach to community cohesion has been slow and has not adequately engaged with communities and other key stakeholders.That isn't the end of it though - there's plenty more to come.
The Council has high level aspirations but these are not sufficiently outcome focussed or consistently challenging.... The Council is still a long way from achieving its stated goal of excellence.... the Council does not have a clear view about what its aim of excellent services means in practice... The Council also does not yet provide adequate community leadership to address local and regional challenges.
There is also some lack of realism about the scale of the task faced in transforming some services, which have only recently begun performing adequately, into excellent services.
Communities beyond the city centre have yet to see consistent benefits from regeneration and performance has been weaker in developing the housing market, sustainable transport and waste management...
Improvement in the health of disadvantaged people has been slow. Approaches to promoting the independence of older people are weak.... The Council has no overarching strategy for meeting the needs of older people in Birmingham, and has no timescale for developing one.
You can't tell me that Whitless believes his own propaganda? Surely not.