There’s currently a vacancy for head of marketing and communications at the National Policing Improvement Agency, the body that implements policy and programmes for the UK police force and strives to improve the co-ordination of all policing projects.
The salary of this high-profile role is advertised as up to £88,597, reflecting the scale of the job and the talent needed to fill it. One can only hope the vacancy is filled soon, because I heard a frustrating story this week. A friend, a police community support officer, is waiting to join the Metropolitan Police Force as an officer. Having successfully completed all his training and exams, he is champing at the bit to start. Only he can’t, because PCSOs aren’t paid in the same way Met officers are. They are paid, via the Met, by Transport for London. The grant, already paid to the Met by TfL for my pal, covers a time period lasting the next two months, so they won’t release him to become a police officer until someone else takes his place as a PCSO. A couple of months isn’t long, you might feel, but this has been the case since before the turn of the year. A London borough, in need of any extra policing it can get, has a fully trained officer waiting in the wings, that it can’t employ.
A new marketing chief at the NPIA might not be the sole answer to such a lack of joined-up thinking, but could be responsible for helping ensure that the bigger picture and strategy is somehow linked to activity and direction on the ground. At least, one might think that is true. But, as this week’s cover story reports (page 12), more than half of marketing executives at international brands, surveyed by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, feel marketing functions are divorced from the overall strategy of their businesses. The feature fields a debate between a group of high-profile managing directors and chief executives with top class marketing roles on their CVs – people who can see both sides of the argument – and reveals some surprising opinions. Maybe those organisations that don’t place marketing at the heart of their business can learn from the slogan on the NPIA’s job ad: “Influence at board level. Impact at street level.”
Strugglers can not be choosers
The value of pro bono work is examined in our second feature on page 16. This has rarely been more relevant than it is right now. We, not just UK plc but society, need to shift towards a more innovative mindset during the recession. Otherwise we risk missing the opportunities we must embrace to survive. My colleague Stuart Smith puts it another way: the recession, he says, can act as a midwife to a whole host of new and brilliant opportunities, if we let it.
What does this mean? At the risk of self-indulgence, let me give an example involving another contact of mine – a gifted strategist with more than a decade’s worth of experience at the top of a large media organisation handling public affairs and communications. He is, like swathes of the population, looking for work. Never one to sit still for long, he has offered his services, free of charge, to a range of relevant brands and offices while waiting for the right opportunity to emerge. Surprisingly, only organisations in the charity sector have accepted his offer. He is left wondering why others, some of them struggling, feel they can afford to turn away free help of any sort. He isn’t the only one.