Eric Pickles wants all council job ads online only

A UK government official has called for council job advertisements to be put solely online, as opposed to wasting thousands of taxpayer’s money on newspaper ads.

Eric Pickles, Local Government Secretary of Bournemouth, spoke at a Local Government Association conference, where he called for the cost-cutting measures. We have a bit of dirt on Pickles that we won’t go into. He said:

“Putting jobs online not only shows local people where their money is going. It will mean they can question whether those jobs are really needed at all.”

It was revealed to the clueless that it can cost between £5,000 and £10,000 to place an ad in some national newspapers, which is several times the amount a single person on the dole would earn in a whole year. If the government were not spending such exorbitant amounts it could perhaps better deal with the financial crisis facing the UK. Alternatively the coalition government could scrap useless iPhone apps that cost an arm and a leg to develop.

However, it is not clear that putting the jobs online is really the answer. In June we covered a story about Brighton and Hove City Council setting up a website to advertise four jobs. It cost £10,000 to set that up, which means the internet side of things could be just as expensive, if not potentially more so, than the old-fashioned method. 

Pickles said that it’s not just about the money, however, it’s about increasing transparency by offering a syndication of job adverts on the internet. The problem is that not everyone is connected to the internet, so there is a case for potential exclusion if all job adverts were to go online. 

Also, considering the fact that the government is closing 75 percent of its websites, cutting the number down from 800 to only 200, it may have to create several more in order to offer this online jobs database, which means its website savings would not really be seen at all. With some government websites costing as much as £360,000 to set up, going online may not be the cheapest answer to the problem.

Pickles said that other savings could be made by simply culling a large number of “non-jobs” which are being advertised. He asked: “What does an audience development officer do? Is a ‘cheerleading development officer’ what taxpayers want? How many transformation officers and business development directors does one council need?” Perhaps spending £10,000 to advertise for a cheerleader in a suit is not exactly the best idea of money well spent.

“One council was even advertising for someone to spin for their bins last week,” he added. “I wonder whether their residents actually want a ‘communications waste strategy officer.’ Or whether they’d prefer a few more bin men.”

Another way to save a ton of money would be for Pickles to go on a diet. Currently his takeaway bills are accounting for 17 percent of the UK’s debt.