Messages from the Archives of Rutherford Hall, Critical Communications Strategist
The government is looking for the next Lex Greensill. Well, they wouldn’t put it like that, but with or without Boris, ministers are looking for savings and efficiency and our sources tell us there’s a renewed openness to private sector companies offering solutions innovative (and leadership candidates all love the efficiency of Whitehall). I think we should meet soon to plan a strategy on how to challenge Outsos for the most successful contracts. We just hired a fantastic guy from Treasury who gave us unique insight into government thinking on this.
See you soon, Rutherford
Find me on Strava. King of the Mountain, Sydenham Hill; PR London to Brighton: 4h 37s
WhatsApp To Stephen: What due diligence did we perform when hiring Christopher? For a former Treasury special adviser, it seems a bit vague. He could not name any of the firm’s non-executive directors. You can’t have that in front of customers. The government efficiency drive is a great opportunity to leverage as an asset, but it needs coaching.
Great to catch up. There’s a meaty agenda here. Any government willing to hand over the nation’s health data to Palantir offers rich choices for any private company with a decent story to tell.
Conservatives have been stung by the Greensill business, but this may make them more receptive to established companies with long track records; your Sercos, Group 4 and Carillions (actually, rub that). We must draw a line under the past.
We will have to work around officials who tend to ask annoying questions about feasibility. Our brilliant new former Treasury spad, Christopher, gives us some interesting angles here. He recommends targeting non-executive departmental directors who are a good backdoor to the Tories who appointed them. We have some good ins there. The main thing with ministers now is just to keep talking about ‘the blob’, which used to mean obstructive officials, but now just means anyone who annoys them. It is a sign that you are on the safe side. They want downsizing in Whitehall, so we need good numbers on job savings.
Is there anything we can disguise as a Brexit opportunity? They are very fond of it but have not found many. procurement rules; imperial measurements; it doesn’t need to stand up to scrutiny, they just need to be able to say it without laughing.
But we also need a two-track approach for the skeptical public. Focus groups are very useful here. They are always looking for money and will gladly take your money to fund a report on something useful. Conservative think tanks have a good relationship with government and can produce a report on how the private sector can improve public service. Then we can organize a launch event with the minister, a political adviser close to the Prime Minister and you and we are absent. This is called a prime minister. These reports can also help convince a wider audience. We are now developing a strategy to show that we can provide equally bad service, but at a lower cost.
Is there anyone you can second to the firm’s office? Once you have a person inside, it is much easier to identify expensive job opportunities that you can take out of the hands of Whitehall. And as Greensill has shown, due diligence falls off a cliff if the cabinet secretary vouches for you.
Stay in touch, Rutherford
Find me on Strava. KoM Sydenham Hill; PR London to Brighton: 4h 37m
WhatsApp: To Stephen: Just to check, was he working for HM Treasury? Not the treasure of verses for children? Or the Lego Treasure? I know he was just a media aide, but I’m not sure he knows the difference between departmental spending limits and managed spending annually. He’s so shaky that we might have to promote him just to cover our tracks.
WhatsApp: To FionaL: Yes, I’m sorry Christopher had to slip away. I’m not supposed to say this, but he had — well, let’s just say — a high-level meeting. He’s a little shy and likes to work off the grid, but that’s gold dust. In fact, we are about to promote it just to avoid other offers. Anyway, we’ll settle another time.
WhatsApp: To Christophe. Glad you like the new title. But with a good office comes great responsibility, so I hope you don’t mind a few tips. Perhaps learn the names of the main figures of the Treasury and taxi offices. Go through the red book and Google anything you don’t know. Read a few newspapers and a few books, The FT, the Economist, Investopedia; Whitehall for Dummies. We’re building a whole strategy around you, Christopher. It’s time to take the next big step.
Messages retrieved by Robert Shrimsley