The Lords select committee on communications – chaired by Lord Fowler – has called for lobby briefings to be broadcast over the web, similar to White House press conferences.
‘The current system encourages an unhealthy closeness between government and a small elite group of journalists,’ states the report.
Luther Pendragon partner Mike Granatt – the former head of the Government Information and Communication Service – said the Lords were ‘naïve’ to believe openness would be achieved by televising the lobby: ‘It would no longer be a briefing, but a planned performance by both reporters and spokespeople.’ He added: ‘Trailing has been around as long as politics and this won’t stop it.’
A senior government communicator said of the report: ‘I think it is singularly unimaginative and a missed opportunity. They should have looked at how to take government comms forward.’
In the report, the CIPR criticises departmental comms standards: ‘There are still a number of departments that neither position and resource communications appropriately nor appreciate the contribution that comms can make.’
The report also calls on ministers to stop making announcements to the media before the issues have been discussed in Parliament.