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Published on August 24th, 2011 | by Simon Wakeman


Shabby PR from SOCITM

It’s been quite a while since my last post I have to admit. Not through any lack of thoughts about interesting stuff to write about, but purely thanks to a lack of time to actually put some words down.

But tonight I have been spurred into action in a minor fit of pique by online coverage of a story from SOCITM about council websites and their (lack of) compliance with the recently enacted privacy regulations on the use of cookies on websites.

I can’t see a press release about this in the news section of the website but given the coverage, I’d guess they’ve put out a release about how poor councils are at understanding their current use of cookies – highlights from various websites below:

I’ve no problem with news stories about issues with council websites – the scrutiny of online or offline media of any sort is valuable in holding the performance of public sector websites to account.

However what really does hack me off is SOCITM, a membership organisation for ICT professionals working in local authorities and the public and third sectors, publicy bashing the competence and performance of the sector they are meant to support. And all of this because they have recently launched a chargeable service to help councils manage their cookies in the light of the new regulations.

As a PR man I’m well versed in the technique in play here – create a stir around headline grabbing stat or two then ride to the rescue with a carefully pitched product or service to solve the various woes created by aforementioned stat. It’s a common ploy and used to great effect by IT security companies among others.

But surely a membership organisation for the sector can see the wider picture beyond their own commercial noses? The sector has enough reputational challenges of its own without a body meant to be supporting and helping the sector using cheap headlines to sell their own products.

Apparently one of SOCITM’s three aims is:

explicitly benefit employing organisations as well as individual members

It shouldn’t really need pointing out, but publicly trashing the services provided by “employing organisations” and “individual members” to get coverage for a product you’re trying to sell us isn’t going to meet this aim.

Shabby PR tacics from SOCITM and I’m not impressed.

And having got that off my chest, I shall resume more constructive blogging once again…!

This article originally appeared on Simon Wakeman’s communications, marketing and public relations blog at


About the Author

I write on my blog about all kinds of things. Mostly it's focussed on communications, marketing and digital stuff - as that's what I spend my days doing and evenings thinking about. But sometimes I'll cover running, mountain biking, road biking or geeky gadgets too.

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  • About Simon

    Simon WakemanSimon is Agency Director at digital agency Deeson and writes for the agency blog on all things digital.

    He’s a CIPR and CIM qualified digital, communications and marketing professional with experience working across the full communications mix in the public and private sectors.

    Outside work he enjoys running, road cycling, mountain biking, caravanning and generally being outdoors. Simon is married with two children, has two energetic dogs and lives near Canterbury, Kent.

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