PPP companies move to step up lobbying efforts

Firms involved in the Government's public-private partnership (PPP)

intiative have launched a fresh public affairs offensive.



The move has been taken by the PPP Forum, comprised of companies already

involved in schemes, in an attempt to bring on board those opposed to

the initiative. Firms involved in the Forum include construction giant

Amec, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.



However, a senior forum source said this would not include liaising with

Transport for London (TfL), one of PPP's most high-profile critics, in

relation to plans for London Undergound.



This week TfL, headed by transport commissioner Bob Kiley, was defeated

in the High Court in its bid to halt a PPP initiative to run the

Tube.



The Forum source said: 'We don't feel it is in our interests to get

involved in this as it is such an emotive subject at the moment. There

are already a lot of messages from both sides of the argument that we

don't feel we can add to at this stage.



'We think it is better to concentrate our work on reminding people of

the benefits of PPP as a whole. This includes using the example of

schemes that are already operational,' the source added.



The forum has recruited Bell Pottinger Public Affairs (BPPA) for the

drive.



BPPA is tasked with maintaining links with central government, which has

already made PPP a flagship policy of its second term, and liaising with

groups such as trade unions, which have voiced opposition.



Peter Bingle, BPPA managing director, said a long-term strategy was now

being drawn up: 'With the second term of the Government, the issue of

PPP is at the fore of policy debate. This requires a stepping up in work

to ensure there is widespread understanding of the benefits of PPP and

that their current achievements are properly promoted,' he said.



GPC had been appointed to handle the account until the end of the

year.



The forum has now terminated GPC's involvement as a number of GPC staff

on the account, including Joy Johnson and Cathy McGlynn, have left the

agency since it was taken on.



BPPA won the account after a three-way pitch. Associate directors Paul

Montague Smith and Howard Dawber lead the team and report to David

Mette, the Forum's executive chairman.



Since 1992, when PPP was first introduced, 180 schemes have become

operational.



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