Sir Tim Bell has allegedly been charging client the Rugby Football
Union pounds 750 an hour for his time - more than three times the
average for agency heads involved in crisis management work.
The figure was highlighted in a document - purportedly a Lowe Bell
Communications executive time summary - that was leaked to the Mail on
Sunday as a strike in an increasingly acrimonious internal power
struggle at the RFU.
The document showed that Bell worked a total of 342 hours on the crisis
- his cumulative time billed out at the princely sum of pounds
’I am not required to confirm or deny anything to do with a document
purportedly leaked,’ said Bell. ’I’ll tell you to mind your own
Bell’s hourly rate, if true, far surpasses the average charge out cost
for top crisis PR advisers.
According to PRCA director Christopher McDowall, last year’s inter-firm
comparisons showed the average per hour charge out rate for agency heads
advising on crisis communications was just under pounds 200.
However, Manning Selvage and Lee chief executive and PRCA chairman
Jackie Elliot believes that rates of between pounds 350-500 per hour are
’not unusual’ for the top practitioners.
’Tim’s rate is obviously at the upper end and it reflects his status,’
added Elliot. ’But if paying him that can save your corporate life, it’s
money well spent.
’In the scale of things I suppose it’s not a lot. Let’s assume Tim is as
good as a lot of people say he is. If that’s so it’s not too much.
After all, what do top QCs earn?’
A Shandwick director confirmed that Shandwick founder and group chairman
Lord Chadlington would command a similar rate to Bell’s for his personal
participation in crisis work.
’The calls on Tim Bell’s time and Lord Chadlington’s time are many and
varied,’ said the Shandwick director.