Taxpayers are set to pick up a bill of £360,000 as the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) seeks to hire a public relations firm “to build the reputation of the Bank” after months of damaging press coverage.
The SNIB has put out a notice on the Scottish Government’s public contracts portal which says the Bank requires a PR agency “to build awareness and reputation of the Bank” as well as “manage reactive crisis communication.” For this work, taxpayers will pay £360,000 over four years.
The move comes as the SNIB seeks to rebuild its reputation after a series of articles published by Disruption Banking and other major publications raised questions about the Bank’s operations.
In June, Disruption Banking revealed that the Bank has invested a total of £16.5 million in three companies with close links to the Scottish Government, and that the SNIB has failed to establish an advisory board to oversee the its operations, contrary to its legal obligations.
Questions have also been raised over how the Bank handles potential conflicts of interest after Disruption Banking revealed the Bank had invested in a firm partly owned by one of its own directors, and by another run by an employee’s brother.
The Times also reported that the Bank, which purports to be independent of the Scottish Government, had come under political pressure to invest in Circularity Scotland, which later went into administration, leaving taxpayers with a bill that could reach £9 million.
Author: Harry Clynch