Department of Health brief calls for track record of changing behaviour, say PROs

Agencies pitching for the Department of Health's 'Life Course' brief will be expected to demonstrate partnership working, coordination skills and a track record of changing behaviour, according to two healthcare PR professionals.

PRWeek podcast: Sarah Wrixon and Simon Francis
PRWeek podcast: Sarah Wrixon and Simon Francis

The Department of Health has issued a massive £85,000 per month PR brief as it revisits its approach to PR and turns its back on 'single issue campaigns'.

The newly-created single brief covers four of the department's major comms programmes - Smokefree/Tobacco Control, the Change4Life obesity campaign, Older People and Younger People.

Salix Consulting MD Sarah Wrixon and freelance consultant Simon Francis spoke about the brief in this week’s PRWeek podcast.

Francis warned that the brief will be a ‘huge undertaking’ for any agency.

‘It’s definitely going to go to one of the big boys,’ said Francis. ‘It’s difficult to see how small businesses are going to get in on the action. The big question that agencies are going to be trying to reassure the COI and the DH about is have they got the capacity to deliver this and deliver it soon.’

The winning agency will be required to start work on the brief as soon as December.

Wrixon said that agencies will need to prove their coordination and social marketing skills.

‘It’s going to be a massive coordination exercise,’ said Wrixon. ‘I’d also want to see one agency really demonstrate that they understand what social marketing is, rather than old school marketing and PR.

‘It’s about trying to trigger behaviour change. So they need to demonstrate evidence of that understanding.’

Francis added that the agency in question will need to prove itself on its resourcing of a wide array of talent, as well as how well they can work in partnership.

‘They have to be able to work in partnership – that’s how the DH want to achieve their aims, not just with the third sector but corporates as well. They’ve got to prove they’ve got the track record of doing that.’ 

To watch the podcast, click here.

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