John Denham: the broken record

29 September 2009

Filtering through the parade of press releases that march through the SM inbox is not as straightforward as you may imagine.

Battling to get their clients' voice heard, PR teams are trained to regurgitate messages in staggered announcements. A ripe example thudded onto the news desk this week in the shape of MP John Denham's call to get better value from the £42 billion local government spends on goods and services each year. Many of you may be wondering why we failed to cover this. Well, quite simply, the release was a rehashed version of a speech Denham made to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy conference back in June. Take this little passage reported in SM this summer. Denham said councils must buy with "one eye on the customer and the other on the future". Nearly three months later, here he is again with the same message: “Councils have proved they can be efficient but given the economic climate their £42bn buying power must be made to work harder with one eye on the future.” Now we know civil servants are on the hunt for efficiency, but surely this is just lazy PR?
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