Newington staff sent on code of conduct training after client ‘confusion’
Mark Glover has apologised for how for the agency listed a campaign for transport lobby groups.
Staff of Newington Communications are being sent on mandatory “refresher code of conduct training” as the agency moves to clear up the recent mess over a botched client declaration.
Newington has also split from an associate who led the agency’s work on the controversial Unblock the Embankment campaign, which is said to be lobbying to abolish London’s flagship cycle superhighway on Albert Embankment.
The decisive action comes after Mark Glover’s agency admitted “a lack of clarity and transparency on the funding of a campaign for which one of our associates has been providing counsel”. The agency was responding to a report on The Guardian’s website which listed various clients on the campaign – none of whom were listed by Newington on the lobbying register.
Glover’s admission was seen as a major embarrassment for a former chair of the APPC. However he impressed some fellow industry figures by swiftly and openly launching an urgent investigation into what happened. A PRCA source said that the industry body was aware of the issue but there were no plans to take any action.
A week later, Newington has revealed that it was initially paid by CTF Partners on behalf of the Unblock the Embankment campaign. It has announced that it will now have “no formal role" with the campaign and that it will “cease to engage with” with an associate, Tony Halmos. Meanwhile all staff will now be retrained in adhering to industry-wide codes of ethical conduct.
"To ensure Newington continues to meet the highest levels of transparency all employees and associates of Newington will complete refresher Code of Conduct training over the coming months to ensure everyone understands fully, and is reminded of, what is expected of them. Further, Newington will be amending its client on-boarding documentation to ensure that it has all the information needed to at all times correctly make declarations to the PRCA’s Public Affairs Board’s Register.” said Glover.
In a statement of the agency’s website, the Newington boss also stressed that his agency will be making a fresh PRCA submission to correct any previous oversight in relation to its work with the campaign. The amended submission makes it clear that Unblock the Embankment is funded by its members: Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Royal Jersey Laundry, Canary Wharf Group, the Confederation of Passenger Transport and the British Motorcycle Federation.
“We hope this properly clarifies the situation of Newington’s involvement in the ‘Unblock the Embankment’ Campaign and I personally apologise for any confusion caused," said Glover.