Difference between revisions of "Bell Pottinger Communications"

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'''Bell Pottinger Communications''' (a subsidiary of [[Chime Communications]]) is the largest PR and lobbying company in the UK.  
'''Bell Pottinger Communications''' (a subsidiary of [[Chime Communications]]) is the largest PR and lobbying company in the UK.  
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==Pro-Nuclear Work==
==Pro-Nuclear Work==
Bell Pottinger have a history of nuclear clients:
Bell Pottinger have a history of nuclear clients:

Revision as of 23:44, 7 December 2011

Twenty-pound-notes.jpg This article is part of the Lobbying Portal, a sunlight project from Spinwatch.

Bell Pottinger Communications (a subsidiary of Chime Communications) is the largest PR and lobbying company in the UK.

The Chairman of Bell Pottinger is Lord Tim Bell, a friend of former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Bell ran the Tory Party's publicity campaigns for the 1979, 1983 and 1987 elections. He was the Deputy Chairman of Lowe Howard-Spink and Bell alongside Frank Lowe before founding Chime Communications in 1989. He got his peerage from Tony Blair in 1998.

Other ex-Labour Party staff who work or have worked at Bell Pottinger include Cathy McGlynn (an adviser to Jack Cunningham when he was Agriculture Secretary), Amanda Clow (from Tony Blair's office before the 1997 election), Amanda Francis (a former adviser to Mo Mowlam), Jav Chavda (a former researcher for the 'Rapid Rebuttal Unit') and Nick Williams (a researcher for David Clark).

Pro-Nuclear Work

Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.

Bell Pottinger have a history of nuclear clients:

In the late nineties and up until 2002, Bell Pottinger Public Affairs was the main PR company providing strategic corporate communications advice for BNFL. In 2002, Bell Pottinger lost the account, although it still provides financial PR services and ad hoc project services, through the sister company Bell Pottinger Communications. [1] [2]

In 2004/05 Bell Pottinger received £24,000 from Nirex to "Provide commmunications advice related to the Nirex pension scheme." [3]

In November / December 2005, Private Eye revealed that Bell Pottinger was receiving £8,000 a month to give strategic advice to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. The Eye noted: " Why is the Bell Pottinger PR firm passing on potted biographies of MPs focusing on their supposed attitude to nuclear power to the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA)? The NDA's job, after all, is to clean up the mess left by the old atomic generation, not to promote new nuclear power stations."

The Eye noted: "The files certainly give the impression that Bell Pottinger thinks the NDA is part of the cosy nuclear club rather than a body charged with sorting out some of the worst problems created by the industry. In its bidding document Bell Pottinger emphasised that its chairman Kevin Murray 'worked on the BNFL account during a tumultuous four-year period'. It also said Bell Pottinger director Tim Walker was a 'former special adviser to Jack Cunningham' when he was a very pro-nuclear MP and spent 'more than a decade closely involved in the politics of the nuclear industry'. [4]

Using the Freedom of Information Act, NuclearSpin has obtained a copy of Bell Pottinger's pitch to the NDA. It underlines the extent of the companies involvement with the nuclear industry. It states that Bell Pottinger's consultants "have worked in a variety of capacities with the nuclear industry. These include:

  • Providing strategic advice and support for the Chairman and Chief Executive of BNFL including crisis management
  • Advising BNFL on corporate and financial communications
  • Developing day-to-day public affairs programmes for BNFL and the BNIF
  • Working with Parliamentarians with interests in the nuclear industry
  • Monitoring and tracking nuclear issues ranging from Parliamentary committees to public enquiries
  • Directly managing the in-house communications for the UKAEA and AEA Technology through privatisation
  • Briefing and rehearsing industry executives appearing before Select Committees." [5]

The NDA's briefing paper for potential PR consultants boasts that the "NDA is not unique in being an organisation committed to open and transparent engagement with stakeholders, but it may well be the first organisation that has such objectives built in to its statutory requirements". Nevertheless, Bell Pottinger's successful pitch includes:

  • "Advising on the handling of particular announcements identifying the issues and bear traps in advance, advising on messaging, media strategy and tactics, questions and answers"
  • "Advising on an appropriate contact programme ie who are the journalists that should be courted, what are their issues, how best to handle them"
  • "Providing off the record information". [6]

Refusal to join the Association of Professional Political Consultants

Update: Bell Pottinger finally joined the PRCA, the rival trade assocation to the APPC, in March 2010[7]

In February 2008, it emerged that Bell Pottinger was one of three agencies refusing to join the APPC, following a committee inquiry chaired by Labour MP Tony Wright. Despite attempting to "make amends" by drawing up its own code of conduct, the controversy surrounding Bell Pottinger's steadfast refusal to register resulted in chairman Peter Bingle giving evidence to MPs at the Public Administration Select Committee.[8]


  • Peter Bingle – Chair
  • Jonathan Oates – Director
  • Claire Cater, Group Director. Claire leads the Group’s public sector work which typically includes media, public affairs, advertising, marketing, medical education, stakeholder engagement, digital and publishing.
  • David Wilson - chairman. In July 2011 Wilson was appointed by Rebekah Brooks' lawyers following her resignation as News International chief executive and subsequent arrest over the phone-hacking scandal. [9]


Bell Pottinger Corporate and Financial | Bell Pottinger Good Relations | Bell Pottinger International | Bell Pottinger North | Bell Pottinger Public Affairs | Bell Pottinger Public Sector Health | Bell Pottinger Sans Frontieres | Bell Pottinger Sport and Sponsorship | Bell Pottinger USA | QBO Bell Pottinger | Bell Pottinger Security | Bell Pottinger Special Projects | Bell Pottinger Middle East | Pelham Bell Pottinger - corporate and financial public relations | Pelham Bell Pottinger Asia | Harvard | Harvard GmBH | Corporate Citizenship | Resonate | Insight | MMK | BMT | Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger


December 2010 to February 2011

Alstom Power | Anadarko | Ascertiva | Aspers | Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers | Astrazeneca | BAE Systems | BACTA | Bank of Ireland | Berkeley Homes | BT MPP | Canary Wharf | Capital One Partners | Carlyle Group | Citibank NA | Constellation | Courtauld Institute |Deloitte | Derwent London| Eclipse Hotels | Emirates | Equitable Members Action Group | Fluor | Food and Drink Federation | Frasers – Camberwell | Global Warming Policy Foundation | Government of Bahrain | GSG Holdings | Historic Royal Palaces | HomeSun | Imperial Tobacco | Inmarsat | Jacobs | Kellogg’s | Ladbrokes | Law Society | Mercedes-Benz | Motor Sports Association | National Grid Commercial | National Grid Property | Park Group | Permira | Places for People |Port of Dover | Port of London Authority | Press Complaints Commission | Provident Financial | Red Bull |Rio Tinto |Rolls Royce | Royalton Ltd | Stannah | St James | Sunderland City Council | TAG Farnborough Airport | Tottenham Hotspur FC | Treasury Holdings | University and College Union | Visteon | Voreda – Woodlands | Waitrose [10]

Bell Pottinger's past clients have included:

Nike | BSkyB | Natwest | BNFL | BP | AEA Technology | GlaxoSmithKline |Prudential | BAE Systems[11] | Rolls Royce |[12]MBDA | [13] | Libyan National Council - although no contract had yet been signed in June 2011, according to Lord Bell: "Bits and pieces are going on,’ ... ‘We are involved in it all, but no one has made any decision and contract. At the moment, the work we are doing for them is informal. Whether we will get in a situation with people in which it will come to something, I’m not sure."[14] | Mohammed El Senussi, the exiled ‘crown prince’ of Libya (since 1988)[14] | Economic Development Board of Bahrain - remit was exp­anded to support the government of Bahrain during uprisings earlier in 2011.[14]

Contact, References and Resources


Website: www.bell-pottinger.co.uk

External Resources


  1. H. Williams, 'BNFL Takes On Finsbury As Dewhurst Wraps Up Revamp', PR Week, 5 July, 2002.
  2. P. Simpson, 'WSW Picks Up BNFL Public Affairs Work', PR Week, 22 April, 2002
  3. David Wild, Freedom of Information Request, Letter to Jean McSorley, Senior Advisor to Greenpeace UK, 15 July 2005.
  4. SpinWatch website
  5. Bell Pottinger Communications, in FOIA release from NDA to NuclearSpin, February 2006.
  6. FOIA, ibid.
  7. PRCA, press release, March 2010
  8. Staff writers, "Lobbying inquiry zooms in on APPC non-members", PR Week UK, 21.02.08, accessed 10.09.10
  9. Sara Luker, Rebekah Brooks hires Bell Pottinger chairman David Wilson to handle media, prweek.com, 18 July 2011, 8:55am
  10. PCRA, PRCA Public Affairs Register – December 2010 to February 2011 accessed 7th December 2011
  11. David Singleton, Bell Potinger sets sights on security industry, PRWeek, 14 December 2007, p. 1.
  12. Singleton, ibid.
  13. Singleton, ibid.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Matt Cartmell, Bell Pottinger Aids Anti-Gaddafi Libyan National Transitional Council, PRWeek, 08 June 2011, accessed 15 June 2011