Statement regarding Birmingham Mail story on Terry Brownbill

By on 27/02/2010 in News

It is simply false to claim that there are 120 press officers and media specialists at Birmingham City Council, when in fact there are six. This is actually a small team for the largest Local Authority in the country, and the largest employer in the city.

Press office team:

The other officers are involved in non-media communications activities right across every department of the council, which includes; designers, printers, copywriters and advertising and marketing officers looking after over 1000 council services and internal communications for over 55,000 council employees.

Media relations is a specialism, which is why the majority of press officers at the council are former journalists. Being such a small team, there will be occasion when we need additional specialist support, which is why Terry Brownbill, a former national journalist himself, was retained. Terry Brownbill attended court every day during two trials regarding the Khyra Ishaq case, to liaise with media, which given the low staff numbers, the press office did not have the capacity to do.

Terry Brownbill has considerable specialist knowledge of supporting local authorities, particularly where children have died in suspicious circumstances. He has been employed by the City Council to provide strategic support and advice to the council's Children Young People and Families directorate during the period of the improvement notice and throughout the trial of Junaid Abuhamza and Angela Gordon for the killing of Khyra Ishaq.

His role includes providing wide-ranging support to front-line staff, as well as senior managers. In addition, his daily attendance at court provided invaluable detailed information about the progress of the case, both for senior managers, and for central Government.

The financial details of the contract between Mr Brownbill and the council are currently the subject of a Freedom of Information request by the Birmingham Post and Mail and it would be inappropriate to pre-judge the outcome of the Information Commissioner's Office.

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There Are 3 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Mr A Nonamous says:

    Shoddy reporting my the Mail. It’s like saying it takes 700 journalists to write each copy of the Birmingham Mail, when there are actually that many total staff involved in producing the paper.

    However £800 per day? … unless that was wrong too.

  2. Colin Peel says:

    It’s also seriously misleading to say the council only employs ‘six’ press officers and then to say the others are, among other things, “copy writers” and “marketing officers”. Er, excuse me, but this makes them part of the same press office team! Also, the ‘six’ quoted does not seem to include Debra Davies (£100,000k a year head of the press office and all communications) nor Debra Harries (£50k a yeas) head of news. Don’t bend the truth, BCC!!!!

  3. Patricia B. says:

    Colin – another armchair expert! Tell me, do you actually work in PR? If you did, you would understand that marketing and public relations are two separate things.

    What I don’t understand is why you are so quick to have a pop at the council for what seems to be a perfectly reasonable response to a factual mistake. Is there a personal axe being ground here?