West Sussex County Council Try To Cover Their Tracks As Videos Disappear From YouTube Channel
23rd April 2012
Back in March, news broke of how West Sussex County Council had spent more then £100,000 over 5 years making videos for the internet.
They also forked out a massive £40,000 on a mid-range camera and editing equipment.
The film unit’s annual running costs are £26,000, which includes employing a part-time staff member to film, edit and maintain the equipment.
Now, 750,000 people live in West Sussex, yet many of the videos are lucky to break into three figures for the number of views. This equates to less than 0.05% of the public actually watching them.
Value for money? Well according to Council Leader Louise Goldsmith it is.
She claims that the videos have appeared on many video sharing, specialist trade and academic websites and have been spread 'virally'!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hmmmm, riiiiiiiight. So people have been sharing them via Twitter and Facebook have they? I think not!
What's happened now?
The reason for refreshing your memory on this story is because there has been a development....
WSCC currently only has 54 videos available on its YouTube Channel.
Since the expenditure was revealed in the national press the council has quietly deleted many more videos (how to wash your hands and how to use a mobile phone went long ago)
Gone is the video on
'how to ride a bicycle safely' along with the feature length video where we get to travel with Louise Goldsmith around Chichester in the council's £17k electric car while she tells us how brilliant it is.
The most interesting deletion however is the 'Digital Democracy' series of videos .....
Essentially these videos were the council's version of the BBC's Daily Politics Show, recorded in their own purpose-built studio. News Manager Chris Rider (playing the part of Andrew Neil) counducts 'hard-hitting interviews' with councillors on various issues that affect the residents of West Sussex. The councillors on the videos act like they are top line MP's. The videos are a complete embarassment. Would you want to watch an 8 minute interview of two people droning on?
The council were also taking us for complete MUGS in these videos. We were supposed to believe that the council's very own media manger was going to take the councillors to task and show them up. Obviously the questions and answers would all have been prepared before filming. After all, it would make no sense for the council to pay someone to ask them unexpected questions and make them look bad.
Now, here's an extra tidbit which has also gone unreported.....
As well as producing the videos, West Sussex County Council also paid a company called Tech-Synergy to transcribe the videos. Even more money spent!!!!
This was accidently stumbled upon when Googling for WSCC videos. Here's an example of one of the PDF files with the transcription of the video where Peter Catchpole is interviewed about the cuts to adult services. Download it here
Now, why oh why didn't the council just do an audio recording of two people talking and get that transcribed? Sadly their combined egos would not allow it! It made much more sense to spend time and money on a video that a few hundred people would watch..
Gone and forgotten.....or are they?
So the moment the council come underfire, all the videos that could most easily be criticized for being insulting, pointless, self-indulgent and an ego trip, have been deleted. We had a feeling this might happen, no matter how good Louise Goldsmith protested to us that the videos are.
So...... thanks to keepvid.com we ripped 8 videos off YouTube in order to be able to share them with you as a 'megamix' at a later date! The public paid for these videos so lets get them back online for everyone to 'enjoy'
Tweet the Organ Grinder
If you'd like to have a moan at Louise Goldsmith for allowing these videos to be made, for wasting thousands of pounds of our money, AND for deleting them, then feel free to tweet at her on Twitter @goldsmithlouise
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Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
What do you think to the council spending all this money on internet videos? Did you ever watch them? Why do you think they were deleted? Should to council cease their production of videos and put more money back into social care?