Portsmouth Council rejoices at discovery staff only spending 11 seconds a day on Facebook

There has been widespread praise for Portsmouth Council after it was discovered that on average its staff only spend 11 seconds a day using Facebook. Despite the huge growth in the number of people using Facebook and the growing number of hours spent on the site by its users, Portsmouth Council staff are barely using the site. It may even be that much of this time is spent outside of work hours.

[Ed.: Stop! That’s not how these stories are meant to be written. Rewind. Add all the numbers up to make it sound as big as possible. Rewrite. And here we go again…]

Facebook is going to be banned at Portsmouth Council after new figures outrageously revealed that its 4,500 staff waste an average of 413 hours a month in total on the site. The Taxpayers’ Alliance is outraged: “People are employed to work hard for the taxpayer and this is clearly a waste of public money”.

[Ed.: Much better. That’s just how The Telegraph or Daily Mail would write up this sort of story. Think you’ve got the hang of this now.]

A cynic asks: do you think anyone at the Taxpayers Alliance spends 11 seconds a day on Facebook? Or The Telegraph or the Daily Mail? Just wondering.

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  • “A cynic asks: do you think anyone at the Taxpayers Alliance spends 11 seconds a day on Facebook? Or The Telegraph or the Daily Mail? Just wondering.”

    I’m not forced to pay for them though.

  • That's News 2nd Sep '09 - 12:54am

    And perhaps the TPA might like to define ‘waste’?

    If a council worker set up a Facebook Group for disabled users of council facilities would the TPA think that was a waste of money?

    I am starting to wonder if the TPA is a serious group or not? If I was on Facebook, Could set up a group about that.

  • Mark: thanks for responding, though complaining about dividing and dividing when you add and add seems a mite ironic 🙂 But more seriously – can you say, hand on heart, that you never spend 11 seconds in a day when you are meant to be at work doing stuff that isn’t part of the job? Never done a personal email? Never looked out of the window? Is 11 seconds really that much?

  • If I worked for a public body and visited facebook in my lunch break, would that be acceptable?

    Maybe next the taxpayers alliance should do a survey on how long council employees spend on the loo and demand that all toilets are removed from the work place as they are reducing the efficiency of the staff !!!

  • Chris Keating 2nd Sep '09 - 12:43pm

    Mark Wallace – except it’s not two staff members doing nothing, it’s a large chunk of them spending a brief period each day on facebook instead of gossiping with their colleagues, playing fantasy football, having fag breaks or any of the other non-work activities that inevitably happen in an office.

    In any case do you really think that 2 full-time-equivalent staff doing nothing is anything remotely significant given the amount of inefficiency at any large unitary council? 😉

  • i for one am happy to spend some of my council tax for ppl to look at facebook. doing some rubbish council admin job must be absolutely soul destroying.

  • Malcolm Todd 2nd Sep '09 - 4:05pm

    Just to confirm: “doing some rubbish council admin job” is “absolutely soul destroying”! (I’m okay now, I got out in the end.)

  • Whelan touches on something- what if they work better for having the occasional minute or two on blogs, rather than having their faces shoved up against their work when they could easily get tired & make mistakes?

    A younger manager who knows what the world is like in 2009 knows who’s just taking the p*** & who works & can be allowed a bit of slack provided a proper amount of work is done. I for one remember in an old job hearing bitter, resentful old-timers whinging at my colleagues’ occasional internet use at work when they (despite their use of the Evil Internet) do far more actual work anyway due to actually knowing what they were doing.

    Yes, I can still remember (with burning rage & hatred) those staff meetings…

  • Malcolm Todd 4th Sep '09 - 1:21pm

    Wow. If you follow the link clegg included (clegg, I don’t know you: were you being satirical or actually recommending this site?), this is what that poisonous Portsmouth website says:

    here in Portsmouth the Lib Dems are slowly taking them away by walking out of council meetings because they don’t agree with those who are making deputations or asking questions. In a true democracy, we all get to voice our opinions, no matter how agreeable or disagreeable and to deny us this right, is nothing short of a…DICTATORSHIP!

    So: City councillors refusing to stay and listen to people who (judging by the rest of the site) compare them to Nazis and call them paedophiles is dictatorship.

    I just wanted to share that information. I’m a bit of a neophyte when it comes to politics on the internet, so I’m still capable of being shocked by the vile, deluded, hate-filled conspiracy fantasies that float around out there (or do I mean out here?), poisoning the electrosphere. (At least bitter, resentful old-timers only get to spew their bile to people they work with or other old lags down the pub, not spread it far and wide at the touch of a button.)

  • Malcolm Todd 4th Sep '09 - 3:02pm

    I agree that Portsmouth are crazy to ban Facebook access. (In fact, what’s the betting that making such a fuss about it causes even more of their staff to start logging on, to see what all the fuss is about?) And I’m rather astonished at the news that the local MP is a member of the Portsmouth City executive – they seem to me two quite distinct roles, which should not be combined. (Though I’m not sure I buy the opposition of “representative of the people” and “representative of the Council” — aren’t Councillors supposed to be representatives of the people, too?)

    But I don’t think that excuses the sheer poison on the po12bg website. It’s clearly malicious and wildly exaggerated, with a toneof personal grievance outweighing any rational consideration or reflection. Getting entertainment from politics is one thing (hey, I read Charlotte Gore sometimes), but slanderous, biased, personal vituperation is the Guinea Worm of the internet, and it shouldn’t be encouraged, not even for a laugh.

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