The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has handed its
lobbying contract to Westminster Strategy.
Fees and the length of the retainer deal are still being discussed, but
it is believed that the budget could be worth around pounds 50,000 a
year. Westminster Strategy’s brief also includes press work.
Westminster Strategy won a three-way pitch against GJW and the recently
formed Newbridge Partnership, which specialises in the privatised
railway industry and is majority owned by Westminster
Both Westminster Strategy and Westminster Communications have done
project work for ATOC in the past.
The main task for Westminster Strategy is to raise the profile of the
association, but at the same time smooth Labour’s approach to the
privatised rail network.
Labour’s manifesto pledged to establish a national railway authority to
oversee the running of the individual rail franchises.
Although Labour has said that it will honour existing franchises, it
could still decide that ATOC’s statutory responsibilities - which
include awarding the contract to deliver telephone train enquiries,
co-ordinating the provision of family and disabled railcards, and acting
in consumer and franchisee disputes - would be better managed by another
’We are looking for a constructive dialogue with Labour,’ said
Westminster Strategy associate director Jon McLeod - who is working on
the account alongside director Mike Lee.
McLeod maintained there was no need to take away any of ATOC’s
responsibilities, but he admitted the organisation - which represents 25
train operators - needed to do more to secure its place as a voice for
the rail industry.