Council to spend £38,000 a year on digital and social media post

Parkside Chart Way Horsham - Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council SUS-150723-162029001
Parkside Chart Way Horsham - Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council SUS-150723-162029001

A salary of more than £38,000 plus ‘attractive benefits’ is being offered by Horsham District Council as it seeks candidates for a new digital and social media post.

An advert on recruitment site Jobsgopublic says the successful applicant would be ‘responsible for developing and managing digital communications’ at HDC, which would include improving the authority’s engagement with the public through websites, social media, mobile and email.

The number of followers the council has on Twitter has also been added as one of its ‘key performance indicators’.

Local authorities across the country have come under fire nationally for spending too much money on tracking themselves on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

In particular the Taxpayers’ Alliance suggested that if councils spent more time delivering a better service for taxpayers they would not have to spend so much checking for damaging publicity.

The council was asked if the post was an appropriate use of funds.

A spokesperson for HDC said: “We take great pride in engaging and being proactive with all the people we serve, whether face-to-face, telephone or digitally.

“Many people want to communicate and interact with us using the same tools as they do in their personal and business lives.

“Developing our ability to communicate with residents using social media, and providing digital solutions for accessing many of our services, is a key part of our Business Transformation Programme.

“Moving to cost effective communication channels will reduce our costs whilst improving our customers experience.”

The salary is listed as between £34,746 and £38,405 with ‘attractive benefits’.

HDC’s Twitter account @HorshamDC has 3,464 followers, while its Facebook page has 1,323 likes.

Before May’s election then deputy leader Helena Croft was cabinet member for communication, on top of her responsibility for special projects and Horsham town.

Leader Ray Dawe has yet to appoint a successor to the portfolio after Mrs Croft was not re-elected.

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