Cratus clarify their relationship with Isle of Wight projects (sort of)

We speak to the founder of Cratus to get to the bottom of their involvement with Island projects, but are left feeling perplexed.

There have been many questions surrounding Cratus, the lobbying and communications company that leader of the council, David Pugh, recently declared he works for.

To try and get to the bottom of speculation of the company’s involvement with Isle of Wight projects, we spoke with Nick Kilby, founder of Cratus, this week.

He told On The Wight that Cratus are not currently working with any projects on the Isle of Wight, including the highways PFI.

Wellow Wind farm application
He confirmed that Cratus had worked for Infinergy, on the Wellow Wind Farm application, actively involved in the public consultation and provided a ‘strategy for communications’ for the company.

He tells us they stopped working for the company on the day the planning application was rejected.

David Pugh’s involvement
Nick went on to say that when David Pugh had joined the company because of his “knowledge and expertise in the world of education”.

Nick explained that David joined Cratus, “He, by definition of our code of conduct, stopped us from working on the Island … apart from Ecoisland, because we do that out of the goodness of our hearts.”

He continued, “Our company only works with people who are extremely honourable and we wouldn’t work with David if he wanted anything different, and we would not embarrass David in his home town.”

Working for Eco Island
In relation to the Ecoisland Partnership (which, for clarity, no longer has any connection to the Isle of Wight council) Nick told On The Wight that Cratus had met with the partnership twice and given them advice.

He said that they had offered free work to Ecoisland, all agreed up front and they “would support Ecoisland as much as we can”.

Nick went on to say the advice offered was “how to keep Ecoisland relevant to the Mainland”.

Ecoisland say otherwise
An On The Wight reader had commented last week that Ecoisland informed him of the opposite, saying the organisation were not working with Cratus.

Indeed, a spokesperson from Ecoisland told On The Wight, “We did have some initial conversations with Cratus at the beginning of the year after they attended one of our Greentank community meetings with Infinergy.

“The relationship was never formalised due to general busy schedules and mainly not being able to get David Green and Cratus together to progress anything and see if we were a good fit. I can confirm that we have neither employed or paid Cratus.”

Confusion reigns
For many readers, this is where the confusion sets in.

Ecoisland say that they have not ’employed or paid Cratus’, but Cratus say in one of their brochures (as has been pointed out by many On The Wight readers) that “Eco Island appoints Cratus to help their political engagement and communications.” (see document embedded below for your convenience)

Following our phone call with Nick Kilby of Cratus, we contacted him by email to put the details of Ecoisland’s view of their relationship, asking him how this could be. He replied, “I have no comment on what Eco Island say. We continue to be fans of their work but the details of our relationship remain private.”

Well that’s cleared that up then!

Thursday, 1st November, 2012 7:55pm

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Filed under: Business, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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10 Comments

  1. Is there any unintended symbolism in the Cratus brochure’s featuring the defecating end of a cow? Should it not be a bull given CRATUS is a PR company)? :-))

    Reply
  2. Black Dog


    1.Nov.2012 9:00pm

    Well someone is not telling the truth is it Eco Island or is it Cratus?

    Why after the apparent willingness to explain that they have no involvement with the contentious projects on the Island that they make this statement when cornered? “I have no comment on what Eco Island say. We continue to be fans of their work but the details of our relationship remain private.” ?

    Why private? what is there to hide? Have they been caught with their hand in the cookie jar?

    I do not know of any company that will work “out of the goodness of our hearts.” There is no such thing as a free lunch. This leads me to believe that something is rotten in the closet.

    Why would a commercial enterprise dedicate man-hours (at the very minimum) to a cause that on the face of it does not bring them benefit?

    On the David Pugh front – If I was a client of Cratus I would be making immediate plans to ditch them if they HONESTLY BELIEVE that Pugh’ appointment to the board is because of his “knowledge and expertise in the world of education”.

    OMG I will now make it my goal to identify all of Cratus’ client base and write to them with Cratus’ quote and the endless evidence of the Boy Blunders expertise in education!!! All assistance in this matter would be gratefully received.

    Mr Nick Kilby may have just committed commercial suicide by stating Pugh is employed because of his “knowledge and expertise in the world of education” I am sure we all remember GERALD RATNER and CR**PNER-GATE

    Reply
  3. Barney McGrew


    1.Nov.2012 9:23pm

    “knowledge and expertise in the world of education”.

    Says it all, really. *chokes with laughter*

    Reply
  4. Keith Eldridge


    2.Nov.2012 10:03am

    Glad they cleared things up. Sort of. Well, not at all really. At least On The Wight got an answer. I have still not had a reply from Cratus to any of my e-mails. And this lot are a communications / PR company.

    Remember, the role of Cratus (which I’m sure everyone will know, means strength / power in Greek; a nice touch) is to ‘provide businesses with contacts and influence with local and national governments.’ (From their twitter feed twitter.com/cratuscomm.)

    Given these stated aims, is this really the type of company the leader of the IW council should be working for (regardless of his role within it)? Surely, by the very nature of his public position and the fact that the role of Cratus is to help businesses influence local government, there exists a conflict of interest(s)?

    Thankfully, Cratus have tried to reassure Islanders that there is no chance of a conflict of interest(s) arising, because they state ‘He (Cllr Pugh) stopped us working on the island….except for ecoisland’. Right. So has he or hasn’t he stopped his employer from working on the Island? That reply wasn’t too helpful.

    Luckily then, when asked directly about potential or real conflict of interest(s) arising from his dual roles, Cllr Pugh himself confidently tells me that it is his considered view that his employment with Cratus does not represent a conflict of interest(s) in any respect. Right. So no conflict of interest(s) there at all then.

    And just exactly how did this appointment with Cratus come about? What made the successful candidate stand out from the rest?

    And what of Infinergy? Well, as I’ve previously stated, their ex-CEO is also employed by Cratus along with Cllr Pugh (see their website.) And, according to the Ecolsand website, Infinergy are one of their many ‘local partners’. Not surprising given they’re in the business of building wind farms, I suppose. The position of partner can get you ‘access to over 70 other partners that share common belief’ and ‘open the door to a wide range of partners.’ Prices to be a partner ‘start at £1000+vat.’

    Interestingly, and without seeing the transcript of the conversation or the e-mail OTW received from EcoIsland, it looks very similar to the one I received… almost word for word.

    I’m troubled by the relationships that exist here. I am not reassured for one minute by the replies and answers to questions that have been given to me personally or OTW and I hope someone in the council is investigating these matters further.

    Reply
  5. I’m worried that any responsible company would employ and amateur in a role of educational expert…the man is not an expert in anything.

    Reply
  6. James Luke


    3.Nov.2012 11:28pm

    I’m now concerned about both aspects of this relationship.

    On one side, we have a professional politician actively involved with a lobbying company that operates on his home turf (Wellow Wind Farm). A clear conflict of interest.

    On the other side, we have a lobbying company that publishes a brochure claiming an important Client reference (Ecoisland) that the Client denies.

    I’m not sure whether Cratus should disassociate themselves from Councillor Pugh or Councillor Pugh should disassociate himself from Cratus. Either way, Island Residents should should have nothing to do with either!

    Reply
  7. Island Monkey


    4.Nov.2012 7:50pm

    This is certainly one for the Eye.

    Reply
  8. Keith Eldridge says that “the role of Cratus… is to ‘provide businesses with contacts and influence with local and national governments.’ (From their twitter feed twitter.com/cratuscomm.)”

    This is deeply disturbing.

    Britain is supposed to be a democracy. That means that all adults have a vote. We’re supposed to have one vote each, and that means each of us is supposed to have an equal right to ‘contacts and influence with local and national governments’.

    Of course we all know that in practice the people with the most money and power will often do almost anything to make sure that they keep their unfair share of that moeny and power.

    Lobbying groups can have a valid role to play in democracy, putting the concerns of particular groups across. If they use not money but only facts and rational argument and sound moral principles to argue thir case, that’s all to the good.

    But lobbying groups which use money to get influence undermine democracy – they put the concerns of money and power above the needs of people and the Earth itself.

    Like other posters I’m surprised that somebody would employ David Pugh for his specialist knowledge or understanding of education, but I’m not surprised, just saddened, that anybody would pay somebody just because they have some influence in government – local or national – or any of the other many forms of power.

    Local and national governments shouldn’t do anything because somebody has paid for that influence. Please note I’m not saying that that’s what has been happening here – it’s a very serious thing to suggest – but the possibility needs to be investigated.

    To be fair to Cratus, Black Dog might be wrong. Companies are run by people, and even people who work in companies can choose to do something out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s just sadly unusual, that’s all…

    Reply

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