City council spends £144,000 creating bizarre new job

May 26, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

A city council is under fire for spending £144,000 hiring a ”place-making director” just days after the Government announced a crackdown on wasteful public spending.

Bristol City Council wants the successful applicant to boost the local economy by developing the city’s ”sense of place”.

But the two-year fixed-contract job, which pays £72,000 a year plus benefits, has been slammed as a ”costly indulgence” which taxpayers can’t afford.

It comes just days after the new coalition government announced £6billion of spending cuts, which include a crackdown on lucrative ‘non jobs’ in the public sector.

Critics say that several job positions already exist to raise Bristol’s profile, including a director of economic and cultural development, the Mayor and council leader.

Mark Elliot, chief executive of the Tax Payers’ Alliance, said: ”This job is a costly indulgence which taxpayers simply can’t afford in these tough times.”

Geoff Gollop, who is leader of the Bristol Conservatives, added: ”This is just the sort of job which tends to bring local Government into disrepute.”

Labour group leader Helen Holland added: ”Questions need to be asked about why this role isn’t being given to Destination Bristol, as the very successful tourism and marketing partnership for Bristol and South Gloucestershire.”

The gobbledygook job description asks for applicants who are willing to ”enhance Bristol’s sense of place” and ”develop a common sense of purpose”.

It reads: ”As Bristol’s place-making director one of your key roles will be to develop productive relationships with stakeholders, developing a common sense of purpose based around a shared understanding of Bristol’s sense of place, in order to improve Bristol’s economic competitiveness.

”You will be expected to originate creative ideas for developing, reinforcing and enhancing Bristol’s sense of place and to work in partnership with others to make this happen.

”We’re looking for someone to help us distinguish our city from all others and create a sense of pride in Bristol.”

The deadline for applications for the ”place-making director” job is June 2 while interviews are currently due to be held on June 7.

Bristol City Council spokesman James Easey said the new post will help Bristol to ”forge a more competitive edge”.

He said: ”There is feeling that Bristol has not punched as hard as it could in terms of selling itself on the national and international stage.

”We have to do this if we are to attract investment, tourism and jobs to the city.

”We have distinct strengths in many sectors, we have a highly skilled workforce and 21st century creative talent and technological expertise.

”This post will work across the Bristol Partnership – it will work with our businesses, civic and cultural organisations to help forge a more competitive edge.”

Bristol City Council has repeatedly been accused of wasting taxpayer’s money in recent years.

Last month businessman Peter Hargreaves, who is worth £570million, slammed BCC as a ”complete bunch of idiots” who have ”never done a decent day’s work in their lives”.

He believes officials hindered the growth of his stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, now Britain’s biggest retail broker worth £1.77billion, despite employing 650 local people.

In September last year it emerged the council had spent £100,000 rebranding the M Shed museum with its original name after no alternative could be found.

In April last year councillors were accused of a ”scandalous” waste after spending £1million commemorating the slave trade including £8,000 on a play about Barack Obama.

In August 2008 it emerged the council’s car towaway scheme had lost £800,000 in just five years – due to a £650,000-a-year contract with a private firm.

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