London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

PR firm behind Tory pandemic response linked to Covid inquiry

PR firm behind Tory pandemic response linked to Covid inquiry

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group say this represents a ‘conflict of interest’ in preliminary hearing
The team behind the Covid inquiry has insisted there is no conflict of interest in having a PR firm which worked on Whitehall’s response to the pandemic running a listening exercise with bereaved families.

The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group reacted with dismay after their concerns were dismissed, saying they were “unbelievably let down”.

The firm 23red was behind important government messaging such as hand hygiene communication and the “Stay at home” slogan. It has now been subcontracted by the ad agency M&C Saatchi to run part of the Covid inquiry’s listening exercise, which seeks to engage with the bereaved and others.

The Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group have said this represents a conflict of interest, with their counsel Pete Weatherby KC raising the matter with the inquiry’s chair during a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. But the inquiry team insisted the nature of the work 23Red means none would arise.

“We sought legal advice and are satisfied there is no conflict of interest that affects the delivery of the listening exercise. M&C Saatchi and 23red do not have a decision making role with the inquiry, and they have no direct access to the inquiry’s legal team or the wider work of the inquiry,” an inquiry spokesperson said.

“Additionally, M&C Saatchi and 23red will not be carrying out any of the listening or have any access to the experiences shared with the inquiry’s listening exercise. Their role is only to help the inquiry reach those most affected by the pandemic, so that they can share their experiences.”

But a spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said many of its members would feel “unbelievably let down” by the insistence on hiring the firm.

Susie Flintham said: “23red were working with the Cabinet Office throughout the pandemic and their conflict of interest is obvious. They shouldn’t be anywhere near the Covid Inquiry, never mind being responsible for how it reaches those worst affected by Covid-19.

“It is unfathomable that they’ve been tasked with ‘helping the inquiry reach those most impacted by the pandemic’. The fact is ‘many of those worst affected’ will question 23red’s motivations and integrity, and won’t feel comfortable engaging with a process they’re involved in.

“The fact that these PR companies have rebranded the listening exercise ‘every story matters’, suggests they don’t have a clue on how to reach those ‘most affected’.”

She continued: “Why is the inquiry paying a hefty sum of taxpayers money, during a cost of living crisis, to a company whose involvement will put people off participating in it? It feels self defeating and like a clear waste of resources.

“If the inquiry is serious about listening to those worst affected by the pandemic then it must give them a meaningful voice, which at the very least means allowing them to speak at each day of the hearings.”

Concerns were first expressed about firms who had been part of the government’s Covid response also being contracted to work on the inquiry into the same last September.

Related Articles

London Daily
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Leaving D-Day Commemoration Early
UK Woman Sentenced After Causing Fatal Crash While Sending Selfies
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
UN to Add Israel to Human Rights Blacklist
Germany and France Oppose EU Luxury Car Restrictions to Russia
Plus-Sized Miss Alabama Sara Milliken Responds to Online Critics
Nigel Farage's Return Boosts Support for Reform UK Party
Labour Party to Pledge Recognition of Palestinian State in Election Manifesto
British Paratroopers Greeted by French Customs After D-Day Anniversary Airdrop
UK Statistics Watchdog Chief Urges Sunak to Clarify Labour Tax Claim Source
UK Conservatives Promise to Restore Child Benefit for Higher Earners