The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has ended its
two-year relationship with Westminster Strategy and is seeking a new
public affairs agency.
The association, which represents all the UK’s railway
franchise-holders, is drawing up a list of agencies at the moment and
expects to see pitches next month. Westminster Strategy’s contract with
ATOC was due for review at the end of this month, but the agency’s
deputy managing director Mike Lee said it would not be repitching.
The public affairs brief includes monitoring, strategic advice and
political positioning among audiences including ministers, civil
servants and the railway community in England, Wales and Scotland.
The chosen agency will report to ATOC communications director David
Campbell Bannerman. He said: ’The brief has matured because of the shift
in power towards the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assemblies, regional
development agencies and local authorities.’ Campbell Bannerman added
that he would consider either an agency with representatives in Scotland
and Wales, or a mix of smaller local consultancies.
Issues on ATOC’s agenda include the shadow strategic rail authority,
which was brought into being by the recent integrated transport White
Paper and begins operation next month.