Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Olympic security – time to up the communications game

With the Olympics only months away, those faced with ensuring the games pass without incident are now faced with the enormity of a task which seemed so far off when London was awarded the games six years ago.
The Olympic Park
Inevitably costs have ballooned as the games have loomed closer. Two years ago the public purse was expecting to cough up around £280m to cover security costs; last year that had risen to £475m which is the current estimate of costs of police security outside of the venues (against a £600m ”cost envelope”).  A further £282m has been allocated to pay for security arrangements inside the venues. Earlier this year, the company with the contract to handle internal security said it would need to double the number of civilian security staff needed to screen visitors and train volunteers from ten to twenty thousand!

So by the time the games have finished it is likely that the total security costs for the 2012 Olympics will be around a cool £1bn. If these figures appear eye watering then it is worth remembering that no one will argue for security of this kind to be trimmed. Even the most ardent opponent of overbearing “elf and safety” rules will simply shrug and look for easier targets to criticise. And it’s not just us. Athens was awarded their games prior to 9/11. That fateful day in New York led to security costs for the 2004 games increasing from an estimated $122m to an actual outlay of $1.8bn – more than ten times the initial assumption.

Olympic security doesn’t just evolve around Stratford. It is estimated some 350,000 foreign visitors will attend the games each day. This will place unprecedented pressure on the UK Borders Agency, airlines and airport operators and the public transport infrastructure.

The communications challenge

So in an era of fiscal restraint and accountability how should the private security industry, airport operators’ and others communicate what they are doing with this public money? Certainly it is worth those security businesses explaining how they are ensuring the games can pass off peacefully and how value for money is being achieved.

Evidently politicians, media and the public are different audiences. With politicians it is possible to establish a clear narrative and a hierarchy of messaging on the most important facts. Ministers and others will want to be assured that the risk of an attack on the games – and other “lesser” acts of criminality such as illegal immigration – are minimal. Equally the politicians will want to know that taxpayer’s money is being spent efficiently (even if not parsimoniously).  Communicating direct with Members of Parliament and other political stakeholders on this should now be a priority.

Reassuring the public that everything is going to be ok is a different matter. The security industry is reliant upon the media to act as an intermediary to communicate key messages. Planning and timing is extremely important. It would be counterproductive to discuss security issues too far ahead of the games as this might suggest there is a reason to be concerned. Instead it is important to start to introduce the media to the issues so that at the right time those key messages on security are relayed loud and clear.

Finally there is the power of advertising.  Hundreds of millions of pounds will be spent on Olympics related advertising. Brands will use the Olympics formally as an official sponsor or in other creative ways to identify their product or service with the games. The security sector should consider itself very much part of that commercial process and use advertising to show how efficient it is at what it does.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The new shadow team in full

Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP
Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Party Chair and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Rt Hon Douglas Alexender MP
Rt Hon John Spellar MP
Emma Reynolds MP
Ian Lucas MP
Kerry McCarthy MP
Lord (David) Triesman
Rt Hon Ed Balls MP
Rachel Reeves MP
Chris Leslie MP
Owen Smith MP
Cathy Jamieson MP
Lord (John) Eatwell
Rt Hon Lord (Bryan) Davies
Lord (Neil) Davidson
Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP
Wayne David MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Rob Flello MP
Jenny Chapman MP
Lord (Willy) Bach
Home Office
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP
(also Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities)
Chris Bryant MP
Rt Hon David Hanson MP
Diana Johnson MP
Gloria de Piero MP
Stella Creasy MP
Rt Hon Lord (Philip) Hunt
Lord (Richard) Rosser
Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP
Kevan Jones MP
Russell Brown MP
Alison Seabeck MP
Gemma Doyle MP
Lord (Richard) Rosser
Business, Innovation & Skills
Chuka Umunna MP
Iain Wright MP
Shabana Mahmood MP
Gordon Marsden MP
Chi Onwurah MP
Toby Perkins MP
Ian Murray MP
Lord (Wilf) Stevenson
Lord (Tony) Young
Work & Pensions
Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP
Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP
Ian Austin MP
Anne McGuire MP
Gregg McClymont MP
Lord (Bill) McKenzie
Energy and Climate Change
Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP
Tom Greatrex MP
Luciana Berger MP
Rt Hon Baroness (Angela) Smith
Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP
Liz Kendall MP
Diane Abbott MP
Andrew Gwynne MP
Jamie Reed MP
Baroness (Glenys) Thornton
Lord (Jeremy) Beecham
Stephen Twigg MP
Kevin Brennan MP
Sharon Hodgson MP
Karen Buck MP
Catherine McKinnell MP
Baroness (Bev) Hughes
Baroness (Maggie) Jones
Communities and Local Government
Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
Jack Dromey MP
Helen Jones MP
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP
Chris Williamson MP
Lord (Bill) McKenzie
Lord (Sir Jeremy) Beecham
Maria Eagle MP
Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Lilian Greenwood MP
John Woodcock MP
Rt Hon Lord (Bryan) Davies
Lord (Richard) Rosser
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mary Creagh MP
Huw Irranca-Davies MP
Gavin Shuker MP
Fiona O'Donnell MP
Baroness (Joyce) Quin
Lord (Jim) Knight
International Development
Rt Hon Ivan Lewis MP
Tony Cunningham MP
Rushanara Ali MP
Baroness (Glenys) Kinnock
Minister for London and the Olympics
Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP
Cabinet Office
Jon Trickett MP
Gareth Thomas MP
Michael Dugher MP
Lord (Stewart) Wood
Rt Hon Lord (Philip) Hunt of Kings Heath
Rt Hon Baroness (Jan) Royall
Equalities Office
Rt Hon Yvette Cooper MP
(also Shadow Home Secretary)
Kate Green MP
Rt Hon Baroness (Jan) Royall
Baroness (Glenys) Thornton
Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport
Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP
Clive Efford MP
Helen Goodman MP
Dan Jarvis MP
Baroness (Maggie) Jones
Baroness (Angela) Billingham
Lord (Wilf) Stevenson
Law Officers
Emily Thornberry MP
Lord (Neil) Davidson (Adv. Gen. Scotland)
Leader of the House of Commons
Angela Eagle MP
Angela Smith MP
Leader of the House of Lords
Rt Hon Baroness (Jan) Royall
Rt Hon Lord (Philip) Hunt (Deputy Leader)
Northern Ireland
Vernon Coaker MP
Stephen Pound MP
Rt Hon Baroness (Angela) Smith
Margaret Curran MP
William Bain MP
Lord (Neil) Davidson
Lord (Des) Browne
Rt Hon Peter Hain MP
Nia Griffith MP
Rt Hon Lord (Bryan) Davies
House of Commons
Chief Whip

Rt Hon Rosie Winterton MP
Alan Campbell MP
Mark Tami MP (Pairing Whip)
Lyn Brown MP
David Hamilton MP
Phil Wilson MP
Mark Hendrick MP
Graham Jones MP
Chris Ruane MP
Susan Elan-Jones MP
Jon Ashworth MP
Tom Blenkinsop MP
Yvonne Fovargue MP
Nic Dakin MP
House of Lords
Chief Whip

Rt Hon Lord (Steve) Bassam of Brighton
Deputy Chief Whips
Lord (Denis) Tunnicliffe
Baroness (Christine) Crawley
Baroness (Maggie) Jones
Baroness (Anita) Gale
Lord (Richard) Rosser
Lord (John) Grantchester
Baroness (Margaret) Wheeler
Baroness (Dianne) Hayter
Lord (Roy) Kennedy
Lord (Ray) Collins
Lord (Roger) Liddle
Lord (Wilf) Stevenson
Lord (Tommy) McAvoy

Friday, 7 October 2011

Full Shadow Cabinet

Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party
Ed Miliband MP

Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Party Chair and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Harriet Harman MP

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
Ed Balls MP

Shadow Foreign Secretary
Douglas Alexander MP

Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities
Yvette Cooper MP

Shadow Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
Sadiq Khan MP

Shadow Chief Whip
Rosie Winterton MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Andy Burnham MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Education
Stephen Twigg MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Chuka Umunna MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Jim Murphy MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Hilary Benn MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Angela Eagle MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Caroline Flint MP

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Rachel Reeves MP

Shadow Minister for London and the Olympics
Tessa Jowell MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Maria Eagle MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Policy Review Co-ordinator
Liam Byrne MP

Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Ivan Lewis MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Mary Creagh MP

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office
Jon Trickett MP

Labour Party Deputy Chair and Campaign Coordinator
Tom Watson MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Vernon Coaker MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Margaret Curran MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Chair of the National Policy Forum
Peter Hain MP

Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Lords Chief Whip
Lord Bassam of Brighton

Also attending Shadow Cabinet:

Shadow Minister for Care and Older People
Liz Kendall MP

Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
Michael Dugher MP

Shadow Attorney General
Emily Thornberry MP

Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
Lord Stewart Wood

Adieu conference

So the exhibition stands are back in their cases and the hotels are again charging sensible room rates. The party conference season is now over and will be memorable for being largely unmemorable. Even now it is hard to recall what Nick Clegg said three weeks ago.

In essence the Lib Dems were beastly to their coalition partners; Labour was beastly to itself (no change there) and the Tories beastly to err, a Bolivian's cat. Yes all very forgettable but then again why should a conference season three years away from an election be anything other? Neither government nor opposition used their conferences to set out detailed policy ideas. Instead they alighted on themes - which had a degree of similarity. Ed Miliband's speech, widely criticised at the time, proved to be a slow burner as much of his assessment of what constitutes good and bad in society was reflected in David Cameron's peroration.

The Prime Minister's speech is always the highlight of the conference season. This year's was a low key effort. The speech itself seemed to be a patchwork of concepts poorly stitched together and with no real underlying theme. The headlines "stop moaning" "fight in the dog" and "people are fed up of unaccountable greed" barely link. Its understated delivery - Cameron has been far more compelling - gave the impression that this speech was an unwelcome intervention on the diary of a busy Prime Minister. That and the comic dispute about the role of domestic pets in immigration cases only fuelled the theory that the PM has still yet to establish a properly functioning No10.

Another stand out issue arising from the conference season and particularly the Conservative conference was the presence of a plethora of lobbyists, if indeed a collective of lobbyists can be called a plethora. Seemingly Ministers had to run from venue to venue with their heads down to avoid being assailed by an interest group of one kind or another. Fringe meeting food - the staple diet of the conference goer - was apparently denied to the hungry local party representatives as the corporate raiders grabbed the cocktail sausages by the handful.

A lobbyist in this context means anyone who attends conference on behalf of an organisation they work for, are an advocate of or are consultants to. But it is difficult to know what is wrong with that that. Should a cancer charity be denied the right to make its case at the party conferences? The question should really be - is your organisation spending its money and time sensibly by having a presence at the party conferences? In these straightened times it is often difficult to make the case that it is worth spending such a lot of money for so little impact. PSA will only advise clients to attend the party conferences if their particular circumstances truly merit the investment needed. The conference organisers love the presence of lobbyists though. It generates much needed revenue and anything that keeps party activists away from fringe meeting microphones can only be a good thing.

So we bid adieu (or good riddance might be more appropriate) to the 2011 conference season. Perhaps we need to get back to big seaside set piece events with big Prime Ministers giving big speeches. The conference season has become far too metropolitan and slick. Besides they now do a mean Panini in Blackpool!