Situation Vacant…

…but you’ve got to be quick, as it closes today. Oh, and you will need to be already vetted to Counter Terrorism Check level.


Me neither.

But if you are, the Association of Police Authorities are advertising for a Communications Officer.

“Why are you bothering us with this, Chapman?” I hear you cry.

Because the position is a fixed term contract till the end of March 2013, yet the Police Authorities the Association represents will stop existing on 22 November this year. Further evidence that the Home Office is serious about the APA becoming at least a temporary representative body for the new PCCs.

Also, the full job title is “Communications Officer (Association of Police and Crime Commissioners)” which means that the name that was suggested by, er, me, has been chosen.

This is significant because of the royalty cheques I’m now waiting for patiently, and the fact that it is not the “Police and Crime Commissioners Association” which the Local Government Association were today touting as ‘the’ national representative body for PCCs.

Hang on. If the PCCA is ‘the’ body, how come there’s also APaCCs? How come APaCCs will have seats on all relevant national policing bodies? And how come APaCCs is the one commissioned by the Home Office, with a £36k per annum PR person with a £125k ICT budget? (they clearly don’t do cheap and cheerful websites either)

This suggests that the initial idea that the APA and LGA could work together on one body isn’t working out. I’m no fan of either organisation – considering them both to have spent taxpayers’ money campaigning against the PCCs they are now trying to recruit – but at least the APA has a background in police governance that could tide PCCs over until 2013 when they can do their own thing if they want to.

It’s a bit like really needing a babysitter, and only having Herod and Pharaoh to choose from.

One thing the LGA is making a feature of is how it has 4 political groups. I would have thought this was something to de-emphasise for this election. I’m clear that people should know a Candidate’s political standpoint, but PCCs are individuals, not political groups, and why should we assume they should organise themselves into groups at a national level. It isn’t a parliament – it’s a representative body, and only a minimal body is needed when you can actually get them all in the same room if needed.

Perhaps that is the issue. Perhaps Herod and Pharaoh don’t want people to realise that actually you can manage perfectly well without them, buy expert support in when needed, and get on with doing the job locally. If people got wind of that, what precedent would it set for Councils and bodies like the LGA?

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6 Responses to Situation Vacant…

  1. Graham Nelson says:

    As a Conservative, surely you would support the notion of consumer choice? You would be the first to moan if there was only one, state-sponsored body in place, I’m sure. The APA have been asked to provide support for the transition – whatever happens after that is up to PCCs.

    You’ll also be standing as “The Conservative Party Candidate” (if selected), so it’s a mystery why you suddenly want to be disassociated from a political group.

    And as for “buying in” support, are you going to pay PWC to sit on a Home Office negotiation board for you? Think it over!

    I don’t quite understand the LGA’s offer either. But at least it’s an independent alternative.

    • samchapman says:

      Hmmm. Two state-funded providers of service. Well, I suppose it looks a tiny bit like competition, but I’m sure we can do better.
      You seem to be stuck with a fixed idea of what a political party is. Look around the world and you will see that there are many different ways for parties to function, and it might be necessary for parties to appreciate this if they are to adapt to a world where party identification is on the wane and where social media grows in effectiveness for linking candidates directly to voters.
      It just seems strange to me that the LGA should promote their party system in an election where political parties are way down the list of what people want to see.
      As to my own affiliation – I am nothing but open about it, but I can get past it. Can you?

  2. Sam do you really think they need a bay-sitter,if they can’t sort themselves out nationally and organise into some sort of governance structure,
    they may as well give up and certainly are not fit to fulfill the role of PCC.It does make me laugh that all these groups are running around setting things up when those elected individuals with a mandate from the people may just disrupt the party!

    • samchapman says:

      I can see that PCCs have a lot to do in their first few months, not least of which is the ‘getting to know you’ phase as they meet their counterparts across the country. Then I hope they will be equipped to do their own thing – but a stop-gap could make sense. I suppose the danger is that the stop-gap becomes permanent and change is stifled. In all of this we should also remember the staff at the APA, who have been doing their job and have to deal with uncertainty. It wouldn’t be good to ditch them all and then find you needed to rehire.

  3. bunnyson says:

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing if after the election of PCC they decided on whether there was a need for the PCC to have such a body? The PCC are supposed to be a “radical change” in police governance, this body is another attempt by the Home Office, ACPO and LGA to bind them deeper into the quagmire we have today.

    That leaves aside the cost implications of such an association, no doubt with a London HQ.

    • samchapman says:

      It would be refreshing. It would also be refreshing if they had a body that was different from the norm, and you raise a very good point. In a localist world, do PCCs really need a body with an HQ in London. Could they have an HQ elsewhere? Do they need an HQ at all, when they could be more distributed than that. This is an opportunity to show government how it can be done differently, cheaply, and perhaps more effectively.

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