Property and investment PR specialist Tamesis is embroiled in a row
with the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after being
criticised in a report on financial mismanagement at former client
Plymouth Development Corporation (PDC).
The Committee relied on evidence presented by the PDC’s auditors, which
was passed on to it by the National Audit Office.
The Committee’s report, published on 19 March, was scathing in its
comments on former PDC chief executive John Collinson (revealing that he
had claimed pounds 9,200 in expenses he was not entitled to). It was
also severely critical of PDC’s relationship with Tamesis, which managed
the corporation’s marketing and PR with subsidiary MSP between April
1994 and January 1996 at a cost of pounds 1.2 million.
The report criticised the handling of the account saying the PR contract
was awarded without competitive tender, that invoices were not detailed
enough and that the two agencies had overcharged to the tune of pounds
Tamesis says it was not allowed to address the points during the
investigation and says that it can show that it won the work in a
four-way pitch, and the contract was for a fixed fee.
Tamesis partner Tony Danaher says that the amounts that appeared to be
above the fixed fee contract were in fact claims for refunds for items
the PDC wrongly asked suppliers to invoice Tamesis for.
He also rejects a claim that Tamesis had sent three staff members to a
prize-giving ceremony in the US. In fact, says Danaher, only one Tamesis
press officer attended the event.
Committee chairman Robert Sheldon (Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne) told
PR Week: ’We didn’t take evidence as the report was published on the day
the House rose. ’There was a feeling on the committee that it had to get
this through. If there is a problem Tamesis should contact the clerk of
Danaher said he intends to do so, adding: ’This was just quango