Deryn loses monitoring contract with Ofcom following review

Written by David Singleton on 24 October 2017 in News

Media watchdog says it was wrong to hand contract to agency run by Nerys Evans and Cathy Evans.

Ofcom has split from lobbying firm Deryn after the media watchdog admitted breaking its own rules on appointing external agencies.

Deryn is run by former Plaid AM Nerys Evans and former Labour special adviser Cathy Evans. Another of Deryn’s directors - Huw Roberts -  is also a former Labour special adviser.

The agency was appointed earlier this year by Ofcom Wales to undertake political monitoring. But now the watchdog has admitted the way the contract had been awarded was "was not consistent with Ofcom's processes".

Deryn's contract has been cancelled and there will be a competitive pitch to find a new agency, it added.

An independent review into the awarding of the contract was launched earlier this year after concerns were raised by AM Neil McEvoy, who pointed out that Evans and Roberts sat on Ofcom’s advisory committee for Wales.

McEvoy currently sits as an independent Assembly Member having been suspended from the Plaid Cymru Group. A number of individuals and organisations, including Deryn, have made officials complaints about McEvoy and an inquiry is ongoing.

McEvoy said: "The findings of the investigation vindicate my questions on the matter. Much to the annoyance of some, I will continue to ask questions on matters like these, without fear or favour. We need firm and clear rules in place for the lobbying industry in Wales and I won't rest until these are in place."

But Alison Crosland, Ofcom’s group director of corporate services, also stressed: "The review concluded that the decision to procure the service was based on its usefulness, and the fact that employees of the supplier hold positions on the Advisory Committee for Wales had no bearing on the decision."



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