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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

2021 -22 Haringey People Covers (Image Collage: Harringay Online)

Haringey Lib Dem leader Luke Cawley-Harrison has claimed that Haringey Council is breaking government rules by publishing a magazine more than four times per year.

Rules say council publications should go out no more than quarterly – but “Haringey People” has published five or six editions per year since 2011.

Figures released by the council last year said each edition cost almost £21,000 to produce and distribute.

Haringey said it had “a duty to ensure that residents are adequately informed” about council decisions and services and the magazine was “crucial” for residents who could not access the internet, especially during the pandemic.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “The publicity code is statutory guidance that local authorities must have regard to when producing publicity, defined as ‘any communication in whatever form, addressed to the public at large or a section of the public’.

“The Secretary of State has the power to direct local authorities to comply with the code if needed.

“My officials are looking into concerns regarding Haringey Council’s magazine publications, and a senior official will take up the matter directly with the council’s chief executive in the first instance.

“We will keep this matter under review.”

The council claimed that the magazine is popular and that  the latest survey found that “nearly 70%” of people said it was their “preferred source of council information”.

The Ham & High newspaper reported that In December last year, the council held a Twitter poll asking how often residents would like to see the magazine published. The most popular choice, the paper said, was “once a year”, with 41% of the vote. The majority of written replies apparently said residents would prefer it was stopped altogether.

You can access the magazine and "Tell us What You Think about Haringey People" on Haringey's website. Magazine archive here.

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the 'tell us what you think' link on haringeys website reads:'the form is down' - it is broken.

Perhaps it was used for the survey reported above and has been left there for a future survey. It's not a particularly helpful way to go about things though. 

21000k to produce each issue. Did I read that correctly?

It's not really a battle is it? The vast majority of people who like, or are indifferent to, the magazine aren't going around filling in forms about it. Incidentally, £21,000 per issue doesn't sound like that much when you consider the amount of peoples time in creating the magazine.

Not sure why you’re quibbling.  The battle, as such, is evidently a political one between the Lib Dems and the administration. 

There are several issues here.

I cannot believe that it is actually central government policy to dictate how many publications can be done by a local authority and find it somewhat Stalinesque and ironic coming from Tories. But also that “levelling up” is just so 1984 too. Especially since people want more and better comms, not less from their council.

But I also find it contradictory that our great leaders chose to force so many dematerialised systems (e.g parking via mobile and internet) on us but then say they need to maintain the hardcopies of the magazine which I do think is quite useless. The glossy format and superfluous content could be pared back but I don’t know if that would cut costs.

I get mine both online (twice!) and through the door so it goes straight into the recycling bin! So I would agree that the H People should only be distributed to those addresses who don’t opt out of receiving a physical copy  I but suppose also that it may be more costly to actually manage that system than to just do a mass distribution.

So I am not particularly in favour of mass distribution of the magazine but from my previous hands on “community/neighbourhood activating” work we must be very careful to not think that everyone has access to the internet and social media to get their local community info. The council has a duty to cater for everyone and not just “the majority”.
we must be aware that there are quite a few residents, often in vulnerable categories, who are neither as engaged in the same way that we here on HOL are or who just do not have access to the web for whatever reason. They are often too the people for whom the info in such a mag can be very important.

So I can see that one can’t just reason on a cost basis. But also are the costs mainly due to printing and distribution or to formatting and producing the copy.

Is it efficient? Are there other means of getting that important info to those who don’t get it online?

I would hope that the Lib Dems, who colluded with the malign Tories and helped do so much damage, have not just attacked the H People for opposing sake. Haringey Labour may be mediocre but we (well certainly I) won’t just give them (the LDs) a ‘free pass’!

Agreed. It could be done much more efficiently.

The government cap is imposed to ensure that councils of any persuasion do no use tax payers' money for political propaganda and Haringey is a perfect example of why the cap is necessary.

I'd also question the quality of the content. You could distill the whole magazine to one of two pages of actually useful or informative content. Also its not very representative of the population of Haringey. Not everyone is Afro Carribean! When have you seen any content relating to the local Polish population or the Orthodox Jewish people who predominate the south east corner of the Borough?

Not everyone needs to be or is labelled in the Haringey People magazine. My son was thrilled to have his photo in it a while ago. He is supported to volunteer at a local cafe. He is white, learning disabled, funny, jewish, medically disabled, tolerant  Nowhere were these mentioned in the blurb; he is simply a member of Haringey's community. 

I think you maybe confuse Afro Carribean with every black person. And every white person with British. Yes, there are many communities within Haringey (and some wish to remain secluded) but there are so very many places within Haringey where they meet and merge.  

I do not agree with the number of issues of the magazine each year. But I do think it is neccesary in reaching swathes of the community who may otherwise be excluded. Keep the magazine, just fewer editions per year.

It doesn't really contain a lot of useful content.

It might be better to have one issue per year which focuses on what council and community group services are available and to how to access them. Basically, a handbook for living in Haringey. It could have an electronic version hosted online for managing updates, catering for other languages etc. 

That would do the trick - something to keep for future reference.

My copy goes straight into the recycling bin, never saw anything of interest in the rag, a waste of time and money, in my view.

I think Luke Cawley-Harrison has got a point - the magazine contains very little of value and the money could be used elsewhere.  Lots of lovingly crafted photos of Councillors from the ruling group along side human interest stories which really belong in the local paper.  A well crafted information sheet showing how we can access Council Services sent out once a year would meet the bill.  Plenty of candidates for the money saved - make it easier to get through to the council by phone perhaps.




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