Eyebrows were raised in public affairs circles last week when the
Independent reported that outdoor advertising company The More Group and
its French rival Decaux, would be pitching to Islington council officers
to win a lucrative bus shelter contract in the borough.
Decaux employs Grandfield Public Affairs (GPA) to handle its lobbying
and the director of GPA is none other than deputy leader of Islington
council, Phil Kelly.
But I was reassured to hear that Kelly’s reputation is untarnished: the
pitches were made to council officers - unelected employees in
Islington’s technical and environmental services department, by in-house
’Decaux are putting in tenders to local authorities all over the country
all the time,’ explained Kelly. ’We were not involved in making the
tender presentation. My interest is known at the council’. He added that
the final decision as to which company wins the tender would be decided
by a committee of councillors of which he is not a member.
That’s all right then.