1 February 2010
The Audit Commission did not pay a public affairs company to lobby Tory shadow ministers.
Steve Bundred, the Commission chief executive, is today writing to Caroline Spelman, the shadow CLG secretary, and to Eric Pickles, the chairman of the Conservative Party, strongly to deny stories and statements to the effect that the Commission paid to lobby them or any other politician.
Mr Bundred is writing to the editor of the Sunday Times asking him to correct a set of errors in a story that appeared on 31 January in that paper.
In January 2009, the Commission's Public Affairs team asked Connect to undertake a specific piece of work called a Perceptions Audit and Influence Map, to help staff better understand expectations of Comprehensive Area Assessment.
This report cost £9,000 and was an assessment of views among opinion leaders across the political spectrum. It was used by communications staff and not seen by senior managers or members of the Commission board.
Neither Connect nor anybody else has ever been asked to 'lobby' or to contact anyone on behalf of the Commission and comments in the report are those of the authors alone.