Sunday, February 28, 2010

Terry's Huge Bill

There is something almost obscene that one of the first thoughts of Birmingham's Childrens' Services when confront with the genuine horror of the Khrya Ishaq case was to hire a PR merchant specialising in reputational management on a whopping £800 a day for 141 days, some £113,000. As always, I have to ask - if the largest council in the UK does not have people capable of carrying out this task, then why not? No wonder, the department was described as being unfit for purpose by its own boss.

One question that has not been asked is that, given that the contract was for 141 days and likely to exceed £50,000 in total, was it advertised or was it deemed to be exempt under the council's own standing orders?

According to the Council's own briefing, Terry Brownbill is apparently possessed of
considerable specialist knowledge of supporting local authorities, particularly where children have died in suspicious circumstances

although his website is silent on this specialist knowledge.

He does have considerable specialist knowledge of the the issues of travellers, becoming a leading light in the formation of a campaign group Middle England in Revolt around his home in Cambridgeshire. Much of his work relates to this part of the world, with him stepping to the fore to defend Fenland District Council for employing a part time chief finance officer who had relocated to Adelaide and carried out all his work - including appearing at council meetings - remotely and for the bargain price of £20,000 for this one day a week.

Still, we end up with a council more worried about reputational damage and spin.

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