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Greenwich council spends £12k on PR team to bring in corporate Olympic bashes but still no bookings

PUBLISHED: 16:06 03 November 2010 | UPDATED: 16:19 03 November 2010

Spencer Drury

Spencer Drury

Archant

The Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Times shows that Greenwich council hired Vero Communications in April on a six month basis ­— at a rate of £3,000 a month — to “support and facilitate meetings with key delegates who would have an interest in holding events in Greenwich during or after 
London 2012”.

It was council officers working on Olympic projects who decided to commission the outside PR company and pay them out of the council’s Olympic fund.

A spokesperson for Greenwich council said: “Very few firm bookings have been made across the whole of London. We have had many inspections by sponsors, National Olympic Committees and International Sporting Federations which have been extremely positive and expect to start serious negotiations in 2011.”

The response to the FOI stated the company were hired “to support and facilitate meetings with key delegates who would have an interest in holding events in Greenwich before, during and after the 2012 Games and who may develop long-term links with both the borough and local stakeholders to support the council’s strategic vision not only for Games time but also of long term regeneration, employment and 
tourism.”

At the time of going to press, the officers had not decided on extending Vero’s contract.

Leader of the opposition on Greenwich council Spencer Drury said: “If you can’t sell the Painted Hall and the National Maritime Museum, you can’t sell much. Council tax has been used for this and the council should be making a return on that money. We are in a situation where every penny has to be accounted for.

“The first port of call for businesses wanting to book an Olympic event in an Olympic borough would be the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) anyway.”

It comes after the leader of Greenwich council, Chris Roberts issued a press release through the council’s communication team criticising the LOGOC for not giving every schoolchild in the host boroughs free tickets for the 2012 events.

Mr Spencer said: “He wants people to come here and is criticising LOCOG which will make it difficult.”


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