This morning several newspapers ran a story about the Cabinet Office advertising for a Deputy Director of Digital Engagement who will be paid around £120,000 a year.
Unfortunately, every single story contained inaccuracies, from basic facts about the vacancy to fundamental details of what the job is all about.
Here are some of the significant errors and explanations of the actual situation.
1) The job title is wrong
The vacancy described does not exist. The Cabinet Office has not and is not advertising for a Deputy Director of Digital Engagement. We are seeking to recruit a Deputy Director of Digital Communications for the Cabinet Office. This is not a new post, it is merely filling an existing vacancy.
2) The details of the job description are wrong
Because they’ve got the job title wrong the newspapers go on to link the post to the recently appointed Director of Digital Engagement and claim that the job is for a “Twittercrat”, someone who will be paid to teach the Government how to use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Bebo. This is not the case.
The successful applicant will be in charge of the Civil Service and Cabinet Office websites, as well as six other high-traffic Government sites. In the past month alone the Civil Service site has received more than 500,000 visits and more than four million page views; it is wrong to suggest, as one paper does, that the task of running such a large site is a “non-job”. With 80 per cent of the British population using the internet regularly, people rightly expect the Government to have a high-quality presence online.
3) Claims that the vacancy is for a “spin doctor” are wrong
Critics quoted in the papers say the vacancy is for a “spin doctor”. This is not true – as explained above this job is primarily about managing websites.
4) Details of reporting lines are wrong
One newspaper says the successful applicant will report to the Director of Digital Engagement – although he or she will do some work with the Director of Digital Engagement (as will all website managers across Whitehall) the successful applicant will in fact be managed by the Cabinet Office’s Director of Communications. The vacancy we are advertising for is a Cabinet Office post, not a cross-Government one.
5) Claims that Digital Engagement is all about pushing Government messages on Facebook are wrong
The internet has revolutionised the way the world works and communicates. Last year YouTube received 11 million unique users from the UK and more than 35 million Britons visited a blog. People are using digital channels to talk to each other and to the Government. The Downing Street Twitter account is followed by more than 1.2 million people, more than the official White House Twitter and considerably more than the daily circulation on most national newspapers. It is vital that the Government understands the medium and uses it properly. If people want to engage with us online, we should be capable of engaging with them online. The UK government is a world leader in this area, with other countries using us a model for their own policies.
There is also much, much more to the Digital Engagement agenda, including freeing up data to make Government more transparent, more accountable and more efficient. You can find out more on the Digital Engagement blog: http://blogs.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/digitalengagement/ [External website]