PLMR

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PLMR is a political lobbying and media relations company with specialist public affairs, monitoring and crisis management expertise. It works internationally including in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Europe, North America and Australia.

PLMR, Church House, Great Smith Street, SW1P - also houses fellow lobbyists Central Lobby Consultants and is 1 minute from Department for Education and think tank Adam Smith Institute

PLMR Scotland

In September 2014, PLMR announced its intention to open an office in Edinburgh because, it said: 'we recognise the importance and special nature of Scottish politics and want to make sure we have a permanent physical presence at the heart of Scottish decision making and as Scotland gets additional devolution.'[1]

It hired Lynn McMath, press advisor for the Scottish shadow cabinet, to head up the office as senior manager. She said: 'This is an incredibly exciting time for Scottish politics and public affairs. PLMR Scotland will be here on the ground and ready to make the most of it.' Founder Kevin Craig said his agency wanted to capitalise on the increased legislative powers the Scottish Government will receive, regardless of the result of next month’s independence referendum.[2]

Activities

Lobbying for education reform

PLMR says it 'works with providers and suppliers across the education sector to promote education reform'.

It says it lobbies around 'specific policy issues'. It also 'campaigns for new projects', provides PR to education suppliers, and manages reputational risk for education providers (see Durand Academy below). Its work covers primary, secondary and higher education.

Its clients in the education business include (or have included):

PLMR says it helps its education sector clients 'communicate their messages to the media and 'with the decision makers that matter to them'. It is no doubt helped in this by employing a former Department for Education staffer: Ollie Lane was the department's chief press officer responsible for schools acting on the Government’s package of education reforms until he joined PLMR in September 2014.[3]

'We believe no other agency in the UK is better placed to deliver results for clients in the education sector.'[4]

Earning £££ from publicly-funded schools

In May 2011 it was reported that PLMR's managing director Kevin Craig was the Vice Chair of Governors of Durand Academy, one of his firm's fee paying clients. The school - funded largely from the public purse - has admitted paying over £199,000 to PLMR between April 2009 and December 2010.

The primary school claimed that it was not unique in spending on PR consultants and that 'more schools are following suit to ensure that they can continue to campaign, engage in reform, develop and grow'[5] PLMR was, according to the school, paid to fundraise, liaise with local councillors, make applications to the Department for Education, champion the schools achievements, deal with the media and write to Ministers. Former education secretary Michael Gove highly praised the school and delivered a speech in 2011 from its site.[6]

PLMR was also involved in helping Durand Academy as it brought a libel action against Lambeth Council. The action related to three emails sent by the Council's Chief Auditor to the school funding unit of the Department for Education that expressed concerns about the management of the school. One email was published to the local MP. The case was settled in June 2012, but not before both sides - both taxpayer-funded - had spent enormous sums of money on the case.

According to Index on Censorship: 'The case of Durand Academy raises serious questions both about the chilling effect of UK libel law, and the creeping encroachment of the “reputation management” industry into public life.[7]

PMLR was paid to provide PR services to the school until August 2014, and after that on a not-for-profit, ad-hoc basis. However, PLMR withdrew its bid to represent the Durand Academy in 2015, blaming "mischievous suggestions" about the transparency of the bid process.[8]

People

Leadership

  • Kevin Craig - Managing Director: In a May 2012 PRWeek promotional feature, Kevin Craig summed up PLMR's 'many' high points of 2011, which along with him winning 'Political Consultant of the Year' at the Public Affairs News awards, included:
attending the Cannes International Festival of Creativity and winning two Gold Lions for Best Media Relations and Best Public Affairs; successfully supporting HC-One - the company who took over 241 former Southern Cross homes by launching their new brand nationally; helping to secure £17M funding for our client to develop the first fully comprehensive secondary boarding school; winning a planning battle for the Ministry of Sound.

Craig named his most 'exciting client wins' of 2011 as: HC-One, Ministry of Sound , Arthritis Research UK, Sunrise Senior Living, Interxion Inc, Oxford University Press, European Care Group, Obesity Management Association.[9]

Staff

[11]

  • Lisa Bailey - a former Conservative Party staffer with "strong links across all levels of the Party". Bailey worked in the Shadow DEFRA Team for over two years before joining the Press Team at Conservative HQ "advising current Home Secretary Theresa May and MPs Nick Herbert and Greg Clark on maximising their media coverage around campaigns and policy launches. She worked in the Conservative Party Press Office throughout the expenses scandal undertaking a lot of crisis communications work". [12]
  • James Ford -Senior Adviser. "Before joining PLMR James was as an aide in the office of Mayor of London Boris Johnson (2010-12) where he advised on transport, environment and digital policy and worked on iconic projects like the introduction of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, the Emirates Air Line, the launch of Tech City, the introduction of WiFi on the Underground, and the New Bus for London. Prior to joining City Hall, James was public affairs manager for the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2004-10) during which time he led successful campaigns in support of Crossrail and in opposition to the western extension of the congestion charge. He has also worked at two public affairs consultancies and as a civil servant at the Department for Work and Pensions." Ford has worked on "two Conservative general election campaigns, two Conservative leadership contests, three mayoral election campaigns, and been a candidate in two London local elections". [13]

PRCA lobbying register

Alexander Hackett | Andrea Sweeney | Anokhi Madhavji | Danny Wilding | David Madden | Elin de Zoete | Ella Stanbrook | Francesca Dobson-Suarez | James Ford | Kevin Craig |Leon Emirali | Michael-John de la Haye | Mike Ramsden | Nathan Hollow | Nick Albrow | Oliver Lane | Patrick Cousens | Rebecca Moles | Robert Comba | Robin Dyet | Rosalind Trinick | Sara Ghaffari | Sarah Clarke | Stefanie Lehmann | Steven Gauge | Tim Knight | Uche Graves | Zoe White [14]

Former staff

Clients

Register of consultant lobbyists

Registered since March 2015, PLMR's listings since joining are as follows:

April - June 2016

Cancer Research UK | Dollar UK | ExCel London | HC-One | Lightwood Strategic | London City Airport | NCFE | Newham Community Schools Trust | The Bingo Association[16]

January - March 2016

Celsa | Dollar UK | ExCeL London | Lightwood Strategic | London City Airport | Newham Community Schools Trust | The Bingo Association | The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

October - December 2015

A Fair Tax on Flying | Company Shop | Elecosoft | London City Airport | Speak Up! | The Conservation Volunteers

July - September 2015

A Fair Tax on Flying | Bohunt School | Bosch | Celsa | Dollar Financial | Epilepsy Society | Honeywell | Johnson Matthey | London City Airport | The Bingo Association | The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

April - June 2015

A Fair Tax on Flying | Care Management Group (CMG) | Dollar Financial | Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) | Ormiston Academies Trust | Tetronics International

January - March 2015

A Fair Tax on Flying | Berlitz | British Endodontic Society | Celsa | Ella's Kitchen | Hannah Weller | HC-One | London City Airport | One North East London (1NE) | Tetronics International | The Bingo Association | The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) [17]

PRCA lobbying register

December 2015 - February 2016

Bohunt | Bosch | British Endodontic Society | British Horse Society | Cancer Research UK | Care England | Care UK | Carebase | Caring Homes Group | Celsa | Combat Stress | Company Shop | Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust | Dollar Financial | Earthworm Energy | Elecosoft | Ella's Kitchen | Embrace | Epilepsy Society | ExCeL London | Exilarch Foundation | Fair Tax on Flying | Forum Enviro | Frontier Estates | HC-One | HRS Energy | Institute of Animal Technology | Lightwood Strategic | Local Dental Committees | London City Airport | Lyft NewhamCommunity Schools Trust | OAT | Pobble | Pocklington Trust | Reliance Energy | Tauheedul Education Trust | Tetronics | The Bingo Association | The Conservation Volunteers | UCLIOE [14]

[18]

According to PRWeek, PLMR's longest-held clients as of May 2012 were:

Contact

London Address: Unit 1C The Plough Brewery, 516 Wandsworth Road, London, SW8 3JX
Edinburgh Address: UN House, 4 Hunter Square, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 1QW
Tel:0207 6229529
Email: kevin.craig@plmr.co.uk
Website: http://www.plmr.co.uk

Notes

  1. PLMR Scotland, PLMR website, accessed September 2015
  2. PLMR sets sights on Scotland, Public Affiars News, 11 September 2014
  3. PLMR snaps up Oliver Lane from Department for Education, PR Week, 26 September 2014
  4. PMLR website, accessed August 2015
  5. Our Services and Partners, Durand Academy website, accessed August 2015
  6. Michael Gove to the Durand Academy, speech by the education secretary, September 2011
  7. Richard Wilson, Libel in the Schoolyard, IndexonCensorship, 31 May 2011, accessed 8 June 2011
  8. Ian Griggs, PLMR pulls out of controversial Durand Academy bid, PR Week, 9 February 2015
  9. PLMR Promotional feature prweek.com, Tuesday, 01 May 2012, 11:07am,acc 26 April 2013
  10. PLMR snaps up Oliver Lane from Department for Education, PR Week, 26 September 2014
  11. Team, PLMR, accessed 9 June 2011
  12. Lisa Bailey, PLMR, undated, acc 25 April 2013
  13. James Ford, Senior Adviser, PLMR website, undated, acc 25 April 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 PLMR clients, Dec-Feb 16, PRCA, accessed 4 May 2016
  15. Kathrine Bancroft, PLMR website, accessed 9 June 2011
  16. 'PLMR profile 2016', Register of consultant lobbyists, accessed 21 July 2016
  17. PLMR profile 2016, Registrar of consultant lobbyists, accessed 3 May 2016
  18. PLMR, Clients, website accessed 9 June 2011
  19. PLMR Promotional feature prweek.com, Tuesday, 01 May 2012, 11:07am,acc 26 April 2013