October 19: Portents for Kent TV?
HOW likely is it that
Kent County Council will continue with its controversial internet
TV station Kent TV?
A decision is due this side of Christmas but
if anyone is looking for straws in the wind, they could do worse
than consider two interesting developments which suggest to me that
the ground is being prepared for KCC to come up with a way of
keeping the project going.
The first is an answer to a question tabled by
opposition leader Cllr Trudy Dean (Lib Dem) at
last week’s full council meeting.
The question and answer from KCC leader Paul
Carter can be read here.
It question tackled the issue of how the
authority’s review of the £1.6million initiative was being carried
The answer revealed that it has, in fact,
already been completed but its contents which will presumably be
used to inform a final decision will not be available for public
consumption until mid-November, when the report on the review will
go to a backbench scrutiny committee chaired by Cllr Eric Hotson
(Con) - who,incidentally, was one of the sternest critics of the
decision to give Kent TV a seven-month extension earlier in the
Cllr Carter replied by saying that “while
there are recommendations for what can be improved, the overall
report is highly positive about Kent TV’s achievements and its
potential for the future.”
Key words there are “highly positive”
and “potential for the future” – both phrases that point
to a probable continuation for the initiative.
Paul Carter amplified his views in an
interview on Sunday for the
BBC Politics Show South East when he was asked whether Kent TV
should go ahead, saying that “in principle” he did.
There are, of course, enough caveats in this
to give KCC a bit of what is called “wiggle room” and I know that
there are some – number unknown – of backbench Conservatives who
remain deeply unconvinced that Kent TV is the kind of thing that a
council ought to be involved in.
It might not prove to be quite the cliffhanger
that Kent TV is talking about in relation to its new £20,000 soap
“Hollywould” but there will probably be as many people interested
in this particular outcome - not least the council taxpayers who
have been funding it and will be getting their new bills a few
I don’t quite understand how the list of
organisations or people solicited for their views about Kent TV
were drawn up or decided.
But looking at the list of consultees, some
certainly strike me as odd. I’m not entirely clear why the
Campaign For Real Ale is a key stakeholder and
I’ve no idea who Cycle Age are but I’m sure their
views will be listened to and documented.
A company called Lupofresh was also asked what
it thought. This appears to be a Maidstone-based company making
home-brewing equipment and supplies.
The consultation and review was conducted by a
firm called CapGemini, which describes itself on its website as
"a global leader in consulting, technology,
outsourcing, and local professional services" and is
apparently based in Paris, France.
It has previously worked for KCC, notably in 2006 when it was
commissioned to help with a management re-organisation in the
authority's childrens services directorate.
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