Comms experts call Lords review 'naïve'

The long-awaited Lords rev­iew of government comms has been dubbed 'unimaginative' and 'naïve'.

The Lords: select committee review has been criticised by senior communicators
The Lords: select committee review has been criticised by senior communicators

The Lords select committee on communications – chaired by Lord Fowler – has called for lobby briefings to be broadcast over the web, similar to White House press conferences.

‘The current system encourages an unhealthy closeness between government and a small elite group of journalists,’ states the report.

Luther Pendragon partner Mike Granatt – the former head of the Government Inf­ormation and Communication Service – said the Lords were ‘naïve’ to believe openness would be achieved by televising the lobby: ‘It would no longer be a briefing, but a planned performance by both reporters and spokespeople.’ He added: ‘Trailing has been around as long as politics and this won’t stop it.’

A senior government communicator said of the rep­ort: ‘I think it is singularly unimaginative and a missed opportunity. They should have looked at how to take government ­comms forward.’

In the report, the CIPR criticises departmental comms standards: ‘There are still a number of departments that neither position and resource communications appropriately nor appreciate the contribution that comms can make.’

The report also calls on ministers to stop making ann­ouncements to the media bef­ore the issues have been discussed in Parliament.

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