I’m a bit late with this one, as it was announced last week by Eric Pickles, Secretary for Communities and Local Government.
Eric wants to stop Local Government and Quango’s from using lobbyists. Claiming it’s wasteful for them to hire lobbyists to lobby government for more money or their pet project. In Eric Pickles’ article in the Guardian newspaper on the subject, he begins,
“Many councils and quangos hire public affairs firms using taxpayers’ money to lobby government for even more money: it sounds like something that shouldn’t be allowed, but it is happening with increasing frequency.”
There’s no need for this expenditure, when that’s the job of local councillors and the marketing teams in local government to press their case. I can imagine an odd exception or two, but Eric’s argument is sound. It’ll force councils to hone their own skills, and not rely on expensive outside help.
In his Guardian article, Eric provides some examples that he considered wasteful expenditure, and one is about us in Surrey. He says,
“… when Surrey police authorities tried to raise their council tax precept by over 7%, they hired top dogs Weber Shandwick, using public money to try to oppose a cap.”
Eric is leading from the front here, by informing his Arms Length Bodies [Quango’s to you and me], all nine of them, to cancel their contracts with lobbyists. If you’re interested in what’s been cancelled, take a look at the list at the bottom of his Department’s press release.