THREE of the borough’s leading journalists reviewed Thurrock Council’s communication strategy at a recent meeting.
Thurrock Gazette’s Gary Pearson, Thurrock Independent’s Neil Speight, YourThurrock’s Michael Casey as well as the Thurrock Enquirer’s sales person, Ruth Swallow were invited to give to the Scrutiny Committee.
All three journalists expressed their frustrations at the delay in reposting to inquiries.
Mr Pearson said: “I deal with councils all across the county and have done so for years an din terms of turnaround times, especially in this digital age, then it is for too slow.
Mr Casey compared his relationship with other councils. He said: “I feel that I have a media partnership with other councils but with Thurrock it feels like we are subject to rules of engagement.
Mr Speight, who over the last fifteen years has edited the Thurrock Gazette, Thurrock Enquirer and now the Thurrock Independent also pointed to the delays in responses . He said: “It is not just us who has to wait days if not week for responses to legitimate questions.
Thurrock Council’s media officers defended their position. Strategic lead, Mary-Patrica Flynn said: “45 per cent of enquiries are answered within 24 hours..there are complex reasons as to why it may take time to get an accurate response for an inquiry.
The chair of the committee, cllr Oliver Gerrish made a series of recommendations including that the council will endeavour to forge closer partnerships with the media.
An audio recording is below.
45% in 24 Hours.
When you pay staff £170.000 A year.
This is Fraud by the Council.
If you cannot do your job. YOU’RE FIRED.
Either employ someone to answer the media or lay off the current media staff they are fucking incompetent. 45% I wonder if I pay 45% of my taxes they will agree with me.