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.
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 sounds a bit too logical. It would never work!
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.
I can't believe that "nearly 70% of people said it was their preferred source of information". The magazine is just a puff for the council to publish all their alleged triumphs in the borough and none of the actual very visible problems with it. Mine goes straight into the recycling which I suspect is the case for most people. The money could be much better spent on other services, especially when they are all stretched at the moment. I realise that not everyone has the internet but a leaflet with all the vital contacts would suffice