Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story says Mark Twain. The “good story” we are referring to is the latest “exclusive” in the the Folkestone & Hythe Express published on Wed 9th May 2018.
Now to say Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) have paid £600,000 plus in “Hush money” is simply wrong. Redundancies or even compulsory redundancies are not “hush money“. Nor could money paid for leaving by mutual consent be considered “hush money” either. However, settlement agreements paid out to officers are to be considered as “hush money“. The Express in their “exclusive” broke down the “hush money” like so:
These figures were received by the Express in an FoI response from the Council. The figures are wrong as we said. Now of course, the Express will say that the Council provided them with the figures which would be a fair comment. Anyway, each year the Council publish via their Statement of Accounts all exit packages. Now “Exit packages are defined so:
Exit Packages – can include compulsory and voluntary redundancy costs, pension contributions in respect of added years, ex gratia payments and other departure costs.
Now that’s what I call killing two birds with one stone. Brilliant story well done to the SV Team on this.
So Council’s HR department not checking nor the Express checking publicly available information. Are they both insane? Great piece and thanks for highlighting it. Perhaps they might now understand why newspapers sales are falling and why no-one really believes what the Council say.
Sadly, as far as newspapers are concerned – especially local ones – fact-checking isn’t of primary importance anymore (neither is sub-editing, which is why so much journalism is rife with spelling, punctuation and grammar errors). It used to be that you sat on a story until it was fact-checked, and only once it was, would it be submitted to the editor for publication. Woe betide any journo, old or new, who hadn’t bothered to stand up his story.
How much on gagging orders, or how many had to sign them .