The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is set to hire a PR chief
and appoint a PR agency for the first time in 18 months as part of a
major push to raise its profile in post-Lawrence Britain.
The CRE says it has already spoken to three agencies, including Fishburn
Hedges, but that no decision had yet been made. The move coincides with
a new advertising campaign through Euro RSCG WNEK Gosper planned for
early spring. Last year’s CRE advertising campaign attracted controversy
and column inches by using stereotypes to raise awareness of racism.
The CRE widened the remit of its top communications job early last year
by promoting its equal opportunities policy expert Phil Barnett to head
both the education policy team and the PR department. The commission’s
PR had been overseen by Marjorie Thompson, but she left in 1997 to start
Cause Connection - Saatchi and Saatchi’s cause-related marketing
The new head of PR will oversee the media and publications teams.
The appointed agency will handle some press relations and lobbying in
relation to a number of pieces of legislation that are planned this
year, including the bill to amend the Race Relations Act, which is
currently before the Lords.
Barnett said: ’We are looking for general all-round support in getting
our message across in a new year, which will involve new legislation and
the appointment of a new chairman of this organisation. We are gearing
up to make a serious step change in the positive impact we are able to
make, hence we are appointing a new head of communications and
restructuring that department. It is all part of an effort to increase
our profile and impact.’
Barnett described the discussions so far as ’early chats’ but said that
an agency appointment could be made in ’about three weeks’. The length
and value of the contract were still to be decided, he added.
The CRE hired Greenwood Tighe 18 months ago to increase awareness of