IT costs Scottish Borders Council over £500,000 a year to run its in-house communications and marketing team which aims to “actively promote a positive image” of the local authority.

An extensive Freedom of Information response reveals that there are currently 14.43 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff working in that department at Newtown.

And the annual budget, which includes staffing, marketing and publicity and costs related to “consultants and freelances”, is £505,000.

Included in the team are two senior communications and marketing officers whose role is “to manage and co-ordinate the effective operational delivery of a special customer-focused internal and external communications and marketing service which aims to actively promote a positive image of the council, the Scottish Borders region and the communities we serve”.

Below them are two full time communication and marketing officers and above them is a corporate communications and marketing manager whose job description reads: “To lead and manage a corporate customer-focused external and internal communications function, including design, print, web and digital media services that will enable the efficient and effective delivery of the council’s corporate and departmental public relations objectives.”

Other full time staff in the department include a communications assistant, a website and digital media officer, three graphic designers, a print service supervisor, a print service operations support worker and a clerical assistant.