A COUNCIL is bizarrely considering paying to have cardboard cut-outs made of Essex officials – rather than have the real people attend a photo shoot.

Essex County Council is currently looking at different ways to promote its Telecare service, which involves a range of sensors being fitted in the homes of vulnerable, frail or elderly people.

These alert either a care line or carer to a potential problem.

The scheme is run in conjunction with a number of organisations, including the emergency services.

While it insists plans are at an early stage, someone from the council has been in contact with various groups, asking them to send across a photograph of a staff member.

They have been told the photo could be blown up into a life-size cardboard cut-out, which would then be posed alongside others for a publicity shot.

Someone who works for one of the partner agencies, but asked not to be named, confirmed they had been approached about the proposal, saying: “It does seem strange they would spend hundreds of pounds on this.

“Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to get everyone together and take a photograph?”

Eleri Roberts, spokesman for Essex County Council, said: “Telecare is incredibly important in enabling people to live independently for longer.

“We want to make sure as many of our vulnerable and elderly residents in Essex know about it and how to apply for it.

“We thank the Gazette for raising its profile, and we will continue to look at creative and cost-effective ways of publicising how residents can benefit from the services that Essex County Council offers.”