Case Studies

PR Portfolio: Helping management teams to handle press enquiries

National Engineering Laboratory (NEL)

When the National Engineering Laboratory in Scotland became privatised it was vital that the new management team were given a series of typical questions that the national, regional, local and technical media were likely to ask about why the Government was selling a major national asset to a private company.

Having journalist training and a good understanding of the technical implications of the handover helped to pose some of the tough questions that the press were likely to ask and also to draft appropriate answers to many of these queries. The exercise enabled the senior managers to prepare their responses and present a consistent message to a diverse range of journalists.

Given that potential job losses were also be a possibility a Q & A document was also needed to be drafted to address the concerns of the workforce, trade unions and the local community.

The privatisation was a complex deal with a multitude of politically tricky issues, not the least being that a public sector organisation with national strategic profile would be sold to a private organiation which was part funded by the German-based Siemens group.

With less than a week to draft the questions and resolve, after consultation with the Government and the company's management team, what the answers should be it was gratifying that the handover was reported positively across a broad spectrum of media.

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