Railtrack and Scottish Power PA out to tender

Two of the most prestigious UK public affairs accounts are up for

grabs, with a host of agencies set to scramble for the business.

Both Railtrack and Scottish Power are staging pitches for six-figure

lobbying contracts in heavily regulated sectors, with the promise of

plenty of high-level contact with ministers and officials.

Beleaguered railway track and stations owner Railtrack is set to hire

its first lobbying firm since it broke the link with Bell Pottinger

Public Affairs last July. The company's financial PR firm, Brunswick,

has done some PA project work for Railtrack since that relationship came

to an end.

The Railtrack pitch is likely to take place in the next two months,

according to head of public affairs Mike Watson. The former adviser to

the late Labour leader John Smith and former acting leader Margaret

Beckett joined Railtrack last week.

He said: 'At Railtrack there is so much happening in the industry that

even though we try to do as much as we can in-house, we sometimes need

external support.'

Watson reports to corporate affairs director Sue Clark, whose move to

Railtrack from the top PR job at Scottish Power - and the hiring of

Dominic Fry as her successor in Glasgow - have led to the second part of

the double pitch.

Scottish Power head of group media relations Colin McSeveny confirmed a

pitch was underway for the firm's lobbying work. He said that the

incumbent, GJW BSMG, which has worked on the business for three years in

an account headed by director Andrew Gifford, would repitch.

Scottish Power's pitch process is being overseen by both Fry and Jamie

Maxton, the successor to Watson in the head of public affairs role.

Watson had been at Scottish Power for four years before leaving last

month. He joined to establish a public affairs team in February 1996,

building up a five-strong unit in his time there.

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