DIARY: PRWeek Awards night out causes trouble for council PR department

Brighton council PR boss Tony Miller this week struck a defiant note when faced with a barrage of abuse from Tory councillors and the local media over his spending priorities.

'Anger at council chiefs' £2,000 night out' screamed the local Argus newspaper, outraged that the award-winning council PR team swanned up to London for, of all events, the PRWeek Awards.

Satisfyingly, the paper noted the awards as 'prestigious' and 'important', but still found space for spoilsport council sources, who decried what Miller's council bosses described as a 'rare treat' for staff as a waste of public money.

Former local Tory candidate David Gold, by coincidence a consultant at PR and lobbying shop PPS (and also at the Grosvenor that night), rightly but worthily complained that the money would have been better spent on the borough's vulnerable and elderly.

'I fully understand the criticisms made and agree that everyone in local government has a duty to spend public money wisely,' Miller fesses up, 'but being shortlisted for three awards when in competition with private sector firms is unprecedented for a local authority. We felt the staff involved deserved recognition.'

We agree, but then we would.

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