Confusion reigns over Thurrock Council advert for social distancing officers

Thurrock Council Offices

By Local Democracy Reporter

THERE is confusion over the links a community enforcement job has to Thurrock Council despite it being advertised as supporting the authority to enforce social distancing.

A job advert for an £11 an hour ‘flexible community support officer’ was placed online by the company Kingdom Service Group.

The description on Kingdom’s website, outlines the job as “helping the council, patrolling the streets, park and other areas around the borough, making sure that people are social distancing.”

But shortly after the job advert was posted the council sent out mixed messaged over how connected the position would be to the authority.

In a statement on Monday evening, a spokesman said: “Thurrock Council would like to remind media that the flexible community support officer role isn’t a vacancy being advertised by Thurrock Council.

“A company called Kingdom are advertising a community support role vacancy based in Thurrock.”

Following this statement, the Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the authority if it is saying the position is unrelated to the council but was told “no – Kingdom is a contractor for the council”.

No response was received to further questions about what powers this enforcement officer would be given if it is not directly employed by the council or why the officer is required.

However, last month the council said over the Easter Bank Holiday enforcement officers working with Essex Police had spoken with more than 1,500 people to remind them of social distancing rules.

Council leader Councillor Rob Gledhill said people were putting the borough’s most vulnerable at risk.

“Anyone who ignores the government’s advice, young or old, is putting our most vulnerable residents’ lives at risk, creating a situation in which the virus will continue to spread, possibly extending the amount of time all of us will have to spend observing these restrictions and putting the NHS at risk,” he said.

“It’s a shame to see that national guidance still isn’t getting through to some people with our officers and the Police still having to speak with so many.”

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