Scottish Enterprise puts PR roster under review

Economic development agency Scottish Enterprise (SE) is reviewing its domestic PR function, threatening its four incumbent agency accounts that are worth a total of £900,000 per year.

Beattie Communications, The Big Partnership, Whitton PR and The Value Innovators have contracts with SE, but it is planning to bring its communications function in-house.

The two-year accounts will finish at the end of March 2005 and currently promote the operations of the SE’s 12 Local Enterprise Councils (LECs).

Agencies working for SE are split into four regions. Beattie Communications has partnered Benchmark Communications to cover the Borders, The Big Partnership, which recently merged with Catchline, covers Fife, the Forth Valley and the rest of East Scotland, while The Big Partnership with The Value Innovators and Whitton PR cover Glasgow and its environs.

SE plans to scrap the roster and employ press officers at each of the LECs. SE acting head of comms Jane Martin said: ‘We are looking from a financial point of view to bring [PR] in-house. We believe bringing our PR function in-house could save us £500,000 per year.’

Martin added that a final decision would be made before Christmas and that the review was being undertaken to ensure that SE is delivering good service to local businesses as effectively as possible.

Before the existing roster was created in March 2003, each LEC employed its own PR agency.

Beattie chief executive Gordon Beattie denied losing the account would affect profitability: ‘The margins we were making from SE were razor thin so it will not impact profitability at all.’

Beattie also denied the potential loss of the account was responsible for his decision to move his company’s HQ from Lanarkshire to London, as reported in Scotland on Sunday last week.

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