The showing of the Channel 4 series ‘Undercover Boss’ on Thursday 22 July 2010 was impeccably timed by their TV scheduling team, as it followed neatly after recent Government announcements on public spending cuts and featured the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in East London.
The one-hour programme followed Tower Hamlets Chief Executive, Kevan Collins, as he got back to the floor and had to identify ways to reduce expenditure.
At this early point of viewing I braced myself for another media bashing of the so-called ‘useless’ Public Sector…however I was pleasantly surprised by the unbiased reporting from Channel 4 producers with Kevan Collins, Tower Hamlets and Local Government all coming across very positively.
Kevan Collins, in my view, presents as a great leader, prepared to listen, and very much in touch with his employees (who are all hard working and dedicated) – even more importantly he genuinely cares about the people of his borough.
The challenges facing Kevan Collins and his staff at Tower Hamlets were vividly portrayed through cameos of work to support older people, homelessness, pest control and market trading – not to mention the daunting strategic fiscal and service delivery issues.
It was not a surprise, but a shame, that I read in the Daily Mirror the following day their reporters pouring cynicism on the production – suggesting the staff were not randomly selected but were all part of a stitch up to make Tower Hamlets ‘look good’.
Mind you, such was the accuracy of the Mirror’s reporting I noticed they had mis-spelt Kevan Collins’ name – I strongly suspect that wasn’t the only thing they were wrong about.