Monday, May 1, 2017
CHIEF MINISTERS DEPARTMENT USE MORE SPIN THAN BESCO LAUNDRY
DEPUTY RUSSELL LABEY
WILL ASK THE CHIEF MINISTER IN THE STATES ON MAY 2nd THE BELOW QUESTION AS MENTIONED ON THE VFC BLOGSPOT:
2. Deputy R. Labey of St. Helier will ask the following question of the Chief Minister –
“Further to his answer to my written question on 18th April 2017, will the Chief Minister advise whether the £33,500 spent on consultancy in preparation for the release of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry’s findings included any expenditure on engaging Ramsay Jones; and, if not, what was the cost of engaging him and what is the total anticipated spend for all such P.R. advice and training relating to this issue?”
THIS IS THE WRITTEN QUESTION FROM THE 18th APRIL 2017
2.20 DEPUTY R. LABEY OF ST. HELIER OF THE CHIEF MINISTER REGARDING THE ENGAGEMENT OF PORTLAND COMMUNICATIONS IN RELATION TO MEDIA TRAINING IN PREPARATION FOR THE PUBLICATION OF THE INDEPENDENT JERSEY CARE INQUIRY’S REPORT: [1(224)]
Will the Chief Minister advise if the services of Portland Communications have been engaged by the States of Jersey to provide media training to Ministers and/or others in preparation for the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry’s report, or for any other reason, and, if so:
(a) which Ministers or other personnel are receiving this training;
(b) if the cost of the programme including fees, flights and accommodation are to be met by the tax payer, how much will this amount to; and
(c) what is the brief Portland Communications are working to and what exactly is the firm charged with delivering for the government?
Portland Communications were first engaged as a result of an open competitive tendering process initiated in 2011 by the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey for the provision of combined strategic support to the Islands, which at the time was mainly in relation to UK matters.
During 2012 and 2013, Portland Communications provided advice on UK Party conferences, Global transparency initiatives, FATCA and enhanced engagement with a number of key European countries. Since the offices in London, Brussels and Caen have become more fully established, in partnership with the Bailiwick of Guernsey, those offices have been able to take on these functions and Portland Communications is now engaged only to provide additional strategic advice, as needed, on matters where there is strong national or international interest.
Most recently, this has included the provision of advice on how best to engage with the anticipated national and international interest in the report to be published this year by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. The aim is to improve upon the past handling of such matters by the Island and being fully open and informative in the public response.
This strategic advice includes matters relating to anticipated national and international media interest and has been provided to officers and relevant Ministers (the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister/Minister for Health and Social Services, Minister for Education and Minister for Home Affairs), usually during telephone calls. In 2017 this has also involved the relevant Ministers visiting the offices of Portland Communications in London as convenient (usually when in London for other personal or official business).
Portland Communications has received £33,500 from the Department for Community and Constitutional Affairs for the provision of this strategic advice and support, with the aim of enhancing the provision of public information, including to the national and international media, following the release of the report by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.
The Chief Minister said in answer to Deputy Labey that he employed Portland in order to learn how to be "more open and informative". Why didn't he mention anything about Ramsey Jones? The Chief Minister said he wanted to "improve upon the past handling of such matters by the island and being fully open and informative in the public response". Is the Chief Minister saying that the Government has NOT been fully open and informative with the public in the past.
Why is the Chief Mnister spending £50,000 to learn how to deal with National/ International Journalists? Sounds to me like he isn't worried about the local journalists. Must protect our international reputation. Our local journalists could take that as an insult.
When did they employ Portland & Jones. Was it before December or after December. Did our Government get wind of a late report in order to get some PR training in?
What the hell are our Communications Unit doing? Does it still exist?
They have been doing PR training over the phone with Portland and Jones. You know it will still go tits up no matter how much money they chuck at it. There advice would be along the lines of "Listen Minister. All ya gotta say is Lessons have been learnt - It was all Syvrets fault and Jersey is open for business." Simples. Now keep repeating it.
Just be honest and give us something from the heart.
Someone ask the Chief Minister how those Innovation Fund reports are coming along.
Days into weeks into months. You get the drift.