Monday, 26 July 2010

A slap in the face for small business: Brighton Council to go head-to-head with local PR companies

I can't imagine Tory Brighton Council's latest money-making wheeze will get past the regulators - but if it does there are serious implications for the future of public sector PR and communications across the country.

It seems the council is to launch its very own PR company and bid for work from other public sector organisations.

Local PR firms and communications professionals are already worrying about the implications of a state-backed competitor entering the market: in theory EU rules designed to protect firms from state-subsidised competitors should block the move but given the Tories' ammbivalence to the rules when it comes to making money out of public service provision I'm sure a loophole will crop up.

The only silver lining for local small businesses who are about to see themselves going head-to-head with Brighton Council's communications unit is that they don't seem to be very good: just last week a senior council officer was telling me how awful it was that the local paper only seemed interested in reporting negative stories about the council.

Well, in my experience, a local media outlet churning out knocking copy about a local council is caused by one thing and one thing only: a poor relationship between the organ concerned and the council''s communications team.

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