'Unfair' attack on council angers LGA

The Local Government Association (LGA) has hit out at PR agencies for poorly researched attacks in press releases that view local government as an 'easy target'.

The news follows a council-baiting press release issued by Citigate Dewe Rogerson (CDR) on 23 September, which the LGA has dubbed 'incorrect, misleading and wrong'.

The press release, issued on behalf of Lloydspharmacy, stated that 28 per cent of council tenants claim their boiler has not been serviced in the past 12 months and called for a change of law.

On requesting the data behind the press release, the LGA was told it was 'commercially confidential', but was finally sent the data after four requests - by which time the story had broken in the media.

The LGA then found the data was eight months old and based on a sample of just 99 council tenants. By comparison, ICM and Mori will not use sample sizes lower than 1,000.

The LGA's analysis and research department stated that CDR's interpretation of the research was 'dishonest', setting out several areas where 'the research is so inaccurate as to be deliberately misleading'.

LGA head of news Richard Stokoe said: 'Calling for a law change on the basis of a sample of 99 people is ludicrous. Everyone kicks local government because they know we can't sue them. They think they can get away with it, but we are going to be making more of an issue about this.' The LGA is now calling for PR companies to maintain their reputation by publishing the data from which they make their assertions.

CDR director Steve Marinker said he stood by the press release: 'Broadly speaking, we view our press release as making a valid point about the state of play in council house properties. I think a sample of 100 is not unreasonable in terms of giving a snapshot.'

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