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Newhaven and Tangible Group agencies Leith and Stripe expected to appeal Scottish Ministers Marketing Framework snubs


By Stephen Lepitak, -

March 18, 2013 | 5 min read

Newhaven, alongside Cello owned Tangible Group agencies The Leith Agency and PR agency Stripe, are understood to be seeking legal advice and may appeal having been omitted from rosters on the £100m Scottish Ministers marketing communications framework.

At the time of writing, agencies had only been told if they had failed to make it onto the framework rosters they had tendered for with the full framework being held back from being released to allow companies to appeal.

Newhaven is understood to have failed to make the advertising roster, despite having been a mainstay of the previous two advertising frameworks.

The agencies said to have made the advertising roster on the framework are The Union, The Leith Agency, Golley Slater, The Gate Worldwide and Story.

Newhaven, who have yet to comment, is understood to be set to take legal advice over the decision that was made by the Scottish Government's procurement department.

An insider into the process has told The Drum that one of the issues Newhaven, which employs around 30 people, that one of the queries the agency will have is the addition of Golley Slater to the advertising roster and its ability to compete for briefs.

It is understood that while not as large in terms of staff numbers in Scotland as Newhaven, Golley Slater also works across offices in London, Cardiff, and Leeds which will be involved in any creative process.

Newhaven is understood to have been listed second highest in the Quality weighting, but was also second highest in price, which seems to be what has been the its main stumbling block with the criteria weighed 60:40 for quality and price respectively. This scoring process will be another element that it is likely to question, having competed to differing scales in mini pitching for previous work having recently won the Scottish Government's Road Safety and Cycling Scotland contracts from The Union - which will effectively be put back up for pitch should the agency lose its appeal.

Meanwhile, Tangible is expected to seek advice having seen PR agency Stripe, which has led many of the Government's communications campaigns over the last four years, fail to make the cut, while The Leith Agency has also failed to make the Integrated roster, despite extensive public sector experience.

The framework is made up of numerous publicly funded Scottish organisations including the Government, Visit Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Scotland's police and Scottish National Parks.

Said an industry insider: "Internally there is a lot of unhappiness at a number of the agencies who have and have not made the framework. It seems that since the introduction of procurement into the process, there has been a loss of focus on quality of campaign work."

A number of agencies have contacted The Drum to air their unhappiness at the framework, which has however cut down on the number of agencies appointed to each roster after receiving criticism for appointing too many five years ago.

The situation is a similar one to that reported earlier in the month which has seen a number of agencies in London, including Karmarama, Dare and Mother London to appeal the UK Government's advertising framework.

Two Scottish marketing frameworks were put out of tender a year-and-a-half ago - the main Government marketing services framework worth between £80-£100m and a secondary 'fully managed' framework of three agencies that would take on outsourced briefs from the internal marketing services departments. The value of this contract is said to be between £15m and £20m.

As the Scottish Government is in a 'standstill period' neither framework has yet to be revealed.

No one from Newhaven or Tangible has commented at the time of writing, while a request for a comment from the Scottish Government's procurement team has also yet to elicit a response.

Meanwhile, Nasdaq OMX Corporate Solutions has been appointed as the sole supplier for the provision of Media Services to the Scottish Minister’s Framework following a tender process.

UPDATED: A Scottish Government (SG) spokesman has said: “Bidders have now been notified of the outcome of the tender exercise for Marketing Services, however, the Public Procurement Regulations require us to observe a 10 day standstill. This ends on 25 March after which time we will conclude the framework agreements. As a result it is not possible to comment further at this stage.”

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