Lincs in review amid adviser row

Lincolnshire County Council is reviewing its comms as it deals with accusations of poor procurement practice. The authority has admitted it is carrying out the review amid a row over public relations consultant Mark Fletcher-Brown.

However, it insisted the review was part of a council-wide shake-up and not connected with the row.

Founder of local firm Reputation, Fletcher-Brown was hired in February 2005. He works for the council two days a week at a charge of £850 a day. Local news agency Orchard News Bureau revealed last month that a competitive tender was not issued to bring in support. It claimed proper procedures, designed to protect the public purse, were not followed.

The council has described the situation as ‘regrettable'. A statement issued to PRWeek read: ‘The decision to take on Fletcher-Brown as a consultant to support the communications activities of the council was the right one. The situation during our Corporate Governance Inspection was moving quickly and it is regrettable that the decision was not recorded properly.'

A shake-up has been implemented following threats of ministerial intervention made last year. The council teetered on the brink of government intervention after a number of scandals, including the departure of its leader Ian Croft last year for misconduct. Former leader Jim Speechley was jailed in 2004, also for misconduct.

Lincolnshire's PR manager is Steve Jackson.

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