UK Government's £350m creative account review uses new streamlined approach

The Cabinet Office has begun the regular search for suppliers to the UK Government's Creative Solutions Framework - worth between £180m and £350m -using the new approach of one single lot in order to 'streamline' the previously controversial tendering process.

UK Government

Acting through the Crown Commercial Service, the tender-led selection process for the four-year contract will once again be run by the Cabinet Office's procurement team out of Liverpool.

Within the single lot, 20 participants at most are expected to be involved, with five appointed to Strategy Development, 10 for Creative for Campaigns, eight to Digital Marketing and Social Media, eight to Public Relations, five to Direct Marketing and eight to handle Partnership Marketing.

It was announced in 2013 that the contract would be 'streamlined' following an outcry over the previous tender process and that that would deliver a cost savings of £3m each year. The contract covers a broad range of marketing, advertising, design and communications services to convey the messaging of the UK Government.

Public sector bodies that can access the contract include Central Government Departments and their Arm's Length Bodies and Agencies, Non Departmental Public Bodies, NHS bodies and Local Authorities.

According to the notice: "The Campaign solutions framework agreement will be a new and innovative contracting solution for the provision of campaign solutions services. Crown Commercial Service is looking to provide clients with a quality and value for money approach to deliver campaign requirements.

"Campaign solutions has been developed by taking lessons learnt from the existing agreements and in response to extensive pre-market engagement, which has been carried out with existing agencies, the wider market, Trade Bodies and clients. The resulting single lot structure addresses the feedback received from this engagement. The Framework Agreement has been designed to facilitate collaborative working to solve problems, offer flexibility in respect of fully integrated, end to end campaign requirements, whilst enabling the parties tap into niche services, innovation and offering the opportunity to build long term strategic partnerships."

“By excluding vital elements like effectiveness and past success has led, we believe, to an over-emphasis on price,” explained Geoffrey Russell, company secretary and director for Media Affairs for the IPA told The Drum in 2013 when the changes were announced following an outcry from the industry on the damage poor procurement practices were having upon it.m

"Choosing agencies to develop effective communication campaigns is not like buying aircraft carriers or paperclips – and to adopt the same approach is unhelpful to everyone,” continued Russell.

“No agency, whether it has been successful or not, would want to be appointed because it was the cheapest – our members are concerned with delivering value, but divorcing decisions from experience and past work, inevitably means that price becomes a key differentiator - whatever Government officials might say.”

Weighting will be divided between quality: 80 per cent and value at 20 per cent the notice claims. Request to participate documents expected by 5 September.

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