Between the Lines: No losers with COI/DfT deal

The impending reconciliation between the Department for Transport and COI brings a welcome end to a three-year stand-off, which proved very little and achieved even less (page 1).

It is doubtful that by making a unilateral declaration of independence, the DfT saved taxpayers a significant amount of money - it certainly did not do much for the morale of DfT "club" agencies having to pitch for every project. All it showed is what can happen when the ill- feeling between two people (Carol Fisher, the then chief executive of COI, and Charles Skinner, the former DfT director of communications), gets out of hand.

Today, with Fisher and Skinner gone, there is a growing rapprochement between the two parties. Clearly, this has had much to do with Alan Bishop, the COI chief, who saw the DfT's action as a wake-up call and responded accordingly.

The result is that the DfT returns with dignity intact and having made its point. Meanwhile, Bishop can take comfort from the fact that no other government department decided to go it alone.


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