Cabinet Office to hire photographer in effort to level up government’s image

The new government photographer will be in addition to the personal one employed by Boris Johnson. Photograph by the Royal Navy.

By Democrat reporter

Downing Street’s critics might argue that making the government look good at present is a tough task as it faces a bruising time, lurching from one Covid-related crisis to another. But No 10 is seemingly attempting to remedy the situation – by hiring a £60,000-a-year photographer.

A job advert posted by the Cabinet Office, which supports the prime minister, states that the job of the photographer will be to “promote the work of ministers and the wider government visually”.

One mitigating aspect of this move is that, unlike the Prime Minister, the camera never lies.

In what could be a nod to the chaotic goings-on in government, it adds: “No two days will ever be the same in this role. One day you may accompany a cabinet minister on an international visit, working closely [with] press officers across Whitehall to deliver a series of coordinated announcements, and the next you will be working in the Cabinet Office producing innovative visual content.”

A key feature of the Whitehall-based role, whose holder will be paid a salary of between £54,700 and £60,635, will apparently involve out-of-hours working, including travelling domestically and overseas with ministers.

The successful candidate will “require a high level of tenacity, confidence and determination combined with a good news sense, a high degree of political awareness and exceptional relationship management skills”. As well as being “highly motivated”, the post holder will need to be “comfortable working autonomously in a high-pressure environment”, the advert states.

The photographer, who will work across departments, will be employed in addition to Boris Johnson’s in-house one. Earlier this year it emerged that the prime minister had hired a personal photographer at taxpayers’ expense. Andrew Parsons, who had previously been employed by the then prime minister David Cameron and was taken off the public payroll in 2010 amid criticism of so-called “vanity staff”, was appointed as a media special adviser in January.

Separately, Parson’s firm, Parsons Media, received four payments totalling £45,525.25 from the Conservatives for work during last year’s general election, electoral commission figures show.

A government spokesperson said: “We are recruiting an experienced photographer to capture and share the government’s work through engaging visual content. This post will work across departments and play a leading role in upskilling the government’s digital communications professionals.”

West Dunbartonshire Council refuse to tell The Democrat how much they spend on publicity photographs, although their communications bill (before the Covid crisis) was around £500,000 a year.

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