Firms involved in the Government's public-private partnership (PPP)
intiative have launched a fresh public affairs offensive.
The move has been taken by the PPP Forum, comprised of companies already
involved in schemes, in an attempt to bring on board those opposed to
the initiative. Firms involved in the Forum include construction giant
Amec, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
However, a senior forum source said this would not include liaising with
Transport for London (TfL), one of PPP's most high-profile critics, in
relation to plans for London Undergound.
This week TfL, headed by transport commissioner Bob Kiley, was defeated
in the High Court in its bid to halt a PPP initiative to run the
The Forum source said: 'We don't feel it is in our interests to get
involved in this as it is such an emotive subject at the moment. There
are already a lot of messages from both sides of the argument that we
don't feel we can add to at this stage.
'We think it is better to concentrate our work on reminding people of
the benefits of PPP as a whole. This includes using the example of
schemes that are already operational,' the source added.
The forum has recruited Bell Pottinger Public Affairs (BPPA) for the
BPPA is tasked with maintaining links with central government, which has
already made PPP a flagship policy of its second term, and liaising with
groups such as trade unions, which have voiced opposition.
Peter Bingle, BPPA managing director, said a long-term strategy was now
being drawn up: 'With the second term of the Government, the issue of
PPP is at the fore of policy debate. This requires a stepping up in work
to ensure there is widespread understanding of the benefits of PPP and
that their current achievements are properly promoted,' he said.
GPC had been appointed to handle the account until the end of the
The forum has now terminated GPC's involvement as a number of GPC staff
on the account, including Joy Johnson and Cathy McGlynn, have left the
agency since it was taken on.
BPPA won the account after a three-way pitch. Associate directors Paul
Montague Smith and Howard Dawber lead the team and report to David
Mette, the Forum's executive chairman.
Since 1992, when PPP was first introduced, 180 schemes have become