Excitement mounts at Holyrood Partnerships over PR awards. But why so costly?

Excitement is mounting here at Holyrood Partnership over the annual Scottish PR Awards.

We are travelling through to Glasgow en masse on Friday (complete with partners) to find out if we’ll be named the country’s Outstanding Small Agency.

We’ve been here (or hereabouts) before. Two years ago we attended the event and came away with a commendation in the Best Newsletter category, while our able young assistant David Connor (aka The Big Galoot) was named Young Communicator of the Year.

That was quite an achievement for Galootski, given that he’d been in PR just six months after previously working as a news reporter. But in truth, it was an individual award, so while he was able to bask in the glory it didn’t really recognise our efforts as an agency.

For my part I am genuinely keyed up over our latest nomination. No matter how hard I try to remain calm, I know that by close of play on Friday night I am going to be elated like never before. Or crushed.

So imagine how it must feel for Barbara Clark and the rest of the comms team at VisitScotland. Word reaches me that they are up for a mind-boggling 10 awards. Congratualtions to them all on receiving quite so many nominations – it seems improbable they could be heading home empty-handed.

Hopefully the judging has already been completed and the winners decided – because I wouldn’t want my next gripe to count against us. But I’m not one for conspiracty theories, so here goes:

The awards – run by professional body the Chartered Institute of Public Relations – are costly to enter in the first place. Presumably those entry fees help cover the organising  the event, the administration and all the other sundry costs that soon mount up.

Agencies like ours also soak up the costs of getting guests to and from the Glasgow venue. But what really gets me is this – the cost of £90 per head buys each guest a three-course meal and the privilege of being entertained by pantomime villain Grant Stott, probably best known for his turns as a presenter Forth One  and as the face of Scottish TV’s football programme, Scotsport.

 But it seems the cost doesn’t stretch to putting a couple of bottles of wine on the table.

Totally Outrageous.

In the past couple of months I’ve been to charity balls, business dinners and formal annual events and haven’t heard of anything this money grubbing. At first I thought it was just me, but my friends, family and colleagues have also been amazed by this.

I hope the CIPR sort this out in time for next year’s event, whether that involves a change of event organiser or whatever. Nobody begrudges paying to enter the awards, nor to attend. But being fleeced is an entirely different matter.


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