Does council leader John Kent fear a communication breakdown?

OVER the last few months, YT could not help but notice that the communications team at Thurrock Council seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. It now appears that the team that was once close to double figures is now down to one noble hack getting the council message out there.

The situation is something Thurrock Council boss, cllr John Kent made reference to at the most recent council meeting. It was only a 50 second soundbite in a three hour meeting but it looks like something that cllr Kent is concerned about.

Some might ask why they have decided to whittle the team down to one. Cllr Kent will naturally tell you that “they have £37.7 million pounds worth of savings to make”. Yes, we can look at other councils such as Barking and Dagenham and/or Medway which have teams of twenty in their media teams but again, cllr Kent will say that those councils do not have the same challenges.

Cllr Kent may well be reflecting on what appears to be a pretty poor relationship with the Thurrock Gazette. The “Grand coalition” story clearly irked him and according to reports he has had a number of meetings to try and establish a better “understanding. However, it looks like he may have to wait until after May 7th 2015.

You have to hand it to Jackie Doyle Price and Mark Coxshall. If they can get stories such as Jackie’s campaign against 500 homes in Aveley all over the front page then fair play to them.

Some may wonder if cllr Kent is regretting that his only real outlet is the Thurrock Enquirer. We would say, not a bit of it. We are fairly sure that he has always been a fan of the Enquirer’s commitment to the community.

The last two weeks have shown that there is a lot of fear, concern, confusion and upset in the borough and a lot of it coming from the most vulnerable. What cllr Kent could do without, we wonder, is his Labour colleagues failing to respond to questions, abjectly failing to chair meetings properly as well as a situation that members cannot get an answer as the officer is on holiday. He may also want to watch how officers and possible ‘rogue departments” are communicating with the public.

Some say that the message that cllr Kent may be trying to get across is that £37 million pounds worth of cuts is causing chaos. Many will see that as a dangerous game and could end up with people blaming Thurrock Labour. Like we say, it is all about how you put that message across.

It is, as the man said, like a jungle out there. Sometimes it makes us wonder how Thurrock Labour will keep the council from going under.

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