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Agenda item


To consider a progress report on the recommendations made in the internal audit report of Advertising issued on 30 September 2019. 


Mr Philip Welsh, Head of Tourism and Communications presented a progress report on the recommendations made following an internal audit review of Advertising in September 2019. Mr Welsh advised that the newly appointed Business Development Manager was now in post.


The Committee asked when the Advertising and Sponsorship Strategy, as detailed within recommendation R3 of the action plan and with a completion target date of March 2020, would be completed and whether any flexibility around recent Covid-19 restrictions would be included within the document. Mr Welsh reported that the new target date was October 2020 and that the scope of the strategy had since been widened to include additional assets and the aim would be to make the document as Covid-proof as possible. In respect of recommendation R4, the Committee asked for examples from other local authorities, noting that the recommendation’s target date of March 2020 had passed. Mr Welsh advised that once examples of best practice had been embedded they would be easier to sustain and his team had taken the opportunity afforded by Covid-19 to review practices in place across other local authorities. As a result he reported that increased efforts to forge partnerships with outside agencies had been implemented in order to develop opportunities for income generation, for example via national advertising projects.


The Committee questioned whether the newly-appointed Business Development Manager had made any reportable progress on improving the service, with particular emphasis on securing sponsorship as outlined in recommendation R6. Mr Welsh stated that the new post-holder had been successful in securing sponsorship from new partners for this year’s illuminations as well as for the Lightpool Festival in October 2020. In addition, the Business Development Manager had secured partnership interest in relation to the events programme for 2021.


The Committee requested further information in relation to advertising opportunities that were being implemented in conjunction with the Council’s Wholly Owned Companies. Mr Welsh reported that his team was eager to work closely with the Council’s companies and that future opportunities to engage in advertising via digital developments would be explored. He stressed the importance of ensuring a consistent approach to advertising across all Council-owned assets and informed Members that a piece of work aimed at creating guidelines to achieve this was underway.


In response to a question asking which of the audit’s recommendations had been most beneficial to the service, Mr Welsh replied that the recommendation regarding the implementation of a more strategic approach to income generation via advertising had resulted in the most positive impact. On the topic of advertising, a question was raised regarding the possibility of utilising Blackpool Tower as a source of advertising. Mr Welsh replied that whilst direct advertising placement on the tower itself was not an option, wider publicising of the high quality of the illuminations as an advertising product was a target which his team was working on.


The Committee sought clarification that the action plan target dates had all been achieved, with Mr Welsh advising that a number of the dates had drifted to later than originally anticipated. As a result, the Committee requested a further follow-up of progress after a period of 12 months.

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