Horsham MP denies wrongdoing over Government contracts

JPCT-10-02-12 Francis Maude S12070178a -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT-10-02-12 Francis Maude S12070178a -photo by Steve Cobb
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Francis Maude was not involved in the selection of any of the companies that went on a controversial allocation of public information advertising contracts worth £520m, his spokesperson said this week.

Public information advertising campaigns address issues like drink driving, binge drinking, smoking, and drug abuse.

The Government keeps a roster of advertising agencies which are approved to take on these campaigns.

The roster was recently updated, after a bidding process overseen by the Cabinet Office.

A national newspaper, The Independent reported that several agencies reacted angrily this week, after it emerged that Cabinet Office Minister Mr Maude had previously had links with a company which won two places on the roster.

The company Bray Leino was awarded places on the roster for digital advertising and direct marketing.

Bray Leino is owned by Mission Group, of which Mr Maude is former non-executive chairman.

Other agencies are reported to be protesting against the selection process, saying that the roster seems to have been selected based on price rather than quality or track record.

Highly regarded international agency Leo Burnett was completely omitted from the list.

The company, which created Tony the Tiger and Marlboro Man, has been producing public information adverts in the UK for more than 30 years.

In 2012, it was awarded the Gold IPA Effectiveness Award for its anti-drink driving campaign.

A spokesman for Mr Maude said: “Francis has had no involvement with Mission Group for three years.

“He was not involved in selecting any of the companies which went on this framework.”

She also said that the framework was recommended to the minister following the Matt Tee Review.