Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Government marketers licensed to bypass COI

LONDON - Government marketers will be given more freedom to bypass the COI and hire agencies directly, amid a money-saving shake-up instigated by COI chief executive Mark Lund.
In a letter seen by Marketing, Lund sets out several changes designed to cut costs and change working practices.
The move may dilute the power of the UK's top-spending advertiser by giving government departments greater autonomy.
One change concerns the way in which Whitehall marketers access COI agencies. The letter reveals that in some cases they have found its full managed service of procurement to be "unnecessary and costly".

From April, Whitehall departments will be able to procure and manage agencies from any COI roster themselves, through either a one-off payment for each contract or an annual subscription. However, the departments will still be allowed to ask the COI to pick an agency for them.
Media buying, which was recently awarded to WPP's M4C, is excluded from this.
Previously, any government marketers wishing to hire agencies directly have had to set up their own rosters to comply with public-sector procurement rules, although this has happened only rarely. The Department for Transport did this some years ago before returning to using the COI.
In another change, a new team structure will be introduced at the COI aimed at reflecting the areas covered by different government departments.
The teams, which will be focused on six themes including the environment and health, will each be led by a client-relationship specialist and a strategist.
by Gemma Charles, marketingmagazine.co.uk 30-Mar-10, 00:01   

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