Last night I scanned through the Guardian Media section, as I'm wont to do on a Monday, and spied an advert for a job as Director of Communications for the Electoral Commission. That looks interesting, I thought (not for me, you understand!). So I read on. A salary of £85,000, hmmm, not bad. And then I read...
"You will be leading a team of about 30..."
Come again? Now before anyone accuses me of slagging off the public sector, let me make it clear that I support the existence of the Electoral Commission. I believe it has quite a difficult job to do, which is sometimes made more difficult by the government's total refusal to implement many of its recommendations. I know some people that work there and they are people of great talent.
However, no one could persuade me that the Electoral Commission can possibly justify a Communications team of 30 people. When I had some dealings with them in 2001-2 their Communications team was a fraction of that. What has changed? If I were an MP, I'd be asking some very serious questions about both the funding, remit and structure of the Electoral Commission.
Or am I wrong? If someone from the Electoral Commission (possibly from their Communications team!) would like to get in touch and persuade me of the error of my ways I'll be happily to post their viewpoint.
UPDATE: I am told that expenditure by the Electoral Commission was £7 million in 2001-02. In this financial year it will be £26 million. Quite astonishing.