Simon Harris statement to the Audit, Governance and Standards Committee

Please also see the previous post for more information on the meeting of the audit, governance and standards committee on the 15th April 2024

The following metrics are taken from Simon’s statement to the Audit, Governance and Standards committee dated April 2023, this is in response to their request for information from Simon Harris.

The statement is in the part one of the report which is on the following page:

https://cmis.essex.gov.uk/essexcmis5/CalendarofMeetings/tabid/73/ctl/ViewMeetingPublic/mid/410/Meeting/5418/Committee/161/SelectedTab/Documents/Default.aspx

The committee wanted as many metrics and insights with regards to the Facebook page and group that he could give them. Simon also took the opportunity to let them know how great he is, and how great the Essex is United empire that he built is.

The metrics only go back a year for the group, and two years for the page.

I feel the page is the most important, especially given the much publicised, especially by Simon, 3 million views in July 2020.

From 1st April 2022 until 31st March 2024, the Essex is United Facebook page received 35.2 million impressions. So in 24 months only received ten times the impressions it received in July 2020. As we know that just means the post was presented on your newsfeed on Facebook. Given that most of the content on the Essex is United page is just shared from other pages, it becomes rather meaningless.

We also need to take into account that the page is Meta verified, which it got because the project was tied in with Essex County Council. Being Meta verified means that the page will pop up in users feeds much more often than a page that is not Meta verified. Now that the page is no longer associated with Essex County Council, Simon Harris now has complete control over a Meta verified page which was verified because it was associated with Essex County Council, and all of the perks that it brings.

The Facebook page currently has 62,000 followers.

731.2k interactions in two years does sound a lot, but it’s not. Not when you work out that it is 5.5 interactions per follower per year.

62k followers, and just under 50k visits per year. Hardly the one stop shop for information all about Essex it was hyped up to be. Of course Simon’s belief is that it doesn’t hold as much value as posts being placed into users feeds as those metrics sound much much better, even if it means that the post doesn’t even get read as the user will just quickly scroll past it.

Simon is more about quantity over quality, which is also reflected in the numerous posts he has made on both the Essex is United Page and his own Man Behaving Dadly page, the quantity is certainly there, the quality however is lacking.

These are the number of posts per month during the last two years for the Facebook page

Simon has stated that the starred figures are higher because there was a lot of sharing of other pages during that time. Likely for Simon to show that he’s still working very very hard on it after things went a bit wrong in his world in January, and maybe even to attempt to mitigate some of things people were saying about the site.

In two years Simon made 3211 posts on the Essex is United page. This works out to just over 4 posts a day, though some of them were corporate posts that he rewrote, or just shares of corporate posts or posts from other pages in the Essex is United fandom.

For the purposes of the next part I am going to exclude the Facebook group entirely, it gets little interaction, the majority of posts in there are shares of what is posted on the page, there is little to no content that is original to the group. The odd post from someone other than admin, but in at least the last year, it’s mostly just shares of other pages, it seems to have been that way since the pandemic ended, but I only looked a year back.

Simon Harris got paid £35,000 for both the page and group from April 1st 2023 until March 31st 2024. All he did was share links and post information that he regurgitated from elsewhere. That’s about it, logged into the account, made 4 posts a day, logged off, and then relaxed with whatever he bought with the £35k.

That’s not all he ‘earned’ from Essex County Council in the past year, the rest is even more terrible and has failed even harder, but that £35k is what he got solely for running Essex is United.

With a group the whole idea is that the group members post and admin’s just, well they just admin. If someone uses a naughty word they are there to tell that poster off and make them sit in the corner in a timeout. It’s a group where the whole point is to answer your questions yet nobody ever posts any. A Facebook group is not meant to be where admins just share posts with no interactions.

So a page with 4 posts a day, and a group with no interaction and no original content is a winning combination according to everyone but those who have actually seen both.

£35k for a year of doing practically nothing. You don’t need to look at any metrics or any of the stupid so called ‘research’ that was done. You just have to look at the content on the page, and the content on the group. He didn’t do anything else regarding the group and page because what else could there be to do? Those of us who use Facebook have an understanding of how groups and pages work, because they are such a simple concept. You make posts and hope people interact with them, that is it.

I have put more effort into this blog post than it would take to create or share 4 posts a day for a week. I am certain that Simon Harris thinks he’s being clever when talking about mapping or a whole host of other things to attempt to justify what he’s been paid, you don’t actually need to take that into account. You just use a bit of common sense which proves how little work has been needed to run both the Essex is United Facebook page, and the group in the past two years.

This makes absolutely no sense. He can’t talk to ECC about the funding because he had to make a report to Essex Police 9 months ago about the manner in which allegations were being shared with others. This includes material he submitted to the police in January which is why he temporarily removed his social media prescence.

It’s what he doesn’t say regarding the police that is most important. He doesn’t say that the police are investigating anything, he doesn’t say that a case has been opened. He just states that ‘the process of contact with the police is ongoing’. I’m going to guess that whatever he went to the police about does not constitute a criminal offence but he keeps sending information to the police in the hope they will open a case. His wording is trying to make it sound like there is an ongoing investigation which he cannot talk about while not actually saying that because there is no investigation.

I cannot think of a single reason why Simon Harris would not be at liberty to talk about the funding of Essex is United, the only reason I can think of is that he doesn’t want to talk about it as it may make him look bad.

The rest of his statement is just full of him saying about how awesome the project was and still is, he points out all of the research that said it was brilliant, he also met King Charles which means it is absolutely brilliant. I am going to guess he thinks he should get a knighthood.

It’s also telling that no metrics exist, other than the amount of impressions that the page got, for the period of time the research projects were covering. They included the one metric that made the page look the best, an artificially increased number because of sponsored posts and mass sharing among other groups, but failed to include actual interactions.