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Town council spends your money on its spin

(July 31, 2010)
WARMINSTER Town Council is spending huge sums of public money on publicity trying to tell people what a good job it is doing.
engage1The regular 'Engage' leaflet has cost more than 2,000 pounds an issue to produce (eg October 2009) and the council has also engaged the services of a Malmesbury based person to write articles for the magazine and prepare press releases for the council.
This shocking state of affairs has come to light after VFW's engage2co-authors Steve Dancey and Paul Macdonald decided to take up the annual opportunity to inspect the council's accounts on 28 July.
Some of our findings are disturbing and will be published in due course, and although we were denied access to payroll information on data protection grounds we will be challenging this via a higher authority.
The glossy leaflet the council produces is hardly value for money as it gives little information and is little more than a vessel for the council's propaganda - (and in design terms it is usually a dog's breakfast).
''I think people in Warminster will be shocked to learn of the cost of these leaflets,'' said Steve Dancey, a former Warminster councillor.
''Within the industry it is well known that only around five engage3per cent of such leaflets are actually read which is our terms is about 400 of the 8,500 produced.
''This means that every read  Engage leaflet costs about four pounds each to produce.
''It is also amazing to think that what is essentially a parish council is paying someone hundreds of pounds a month to produce press releases.
''With budgets tight and people having to count their pennies those in charge of our finances should really be looking to engage4ensure every penny is wisely spent.
''PR for a parish council shows they are taxing us too much and not spending in the right places.
''I know some councillors are aware of the need to be careful with our money - but clearly they are not in the majority.''

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