Government Communication Service likely to select 11 PR firms for new roster

Eleven PR firms have been named as likely incumbents of the Government's new 'communication services' roster, although the list cannot be confirmed until the end of next week at the earliest, for legal reasons.

Last year, the Government Communication Service announced two new frameworks to enable public bodies to work with PR and other marcomms agencies.

The larger, more lucrative 'campaign solutions' framework was announced in December, with 27 firms from across the media spectrum included. They will have access to budgets totalling several hundreds of millions of pounds over the framework's four-year lifespan.

The second framework, the more tactical 'communication services' roster, is now being finalised.

Agencies who bid for a spot on Lot 4 (Public Relations) of the roster have been informed by email of the firms which are likely to be awarded a place. They are ranked in order of scores achieved in the tender process (with Munro & Forster the top scorer):

  • Munro & Forster Communications
  • Four Communications Group
  • Weber Shandwick
  • Kindred Agency
  • Freud Communications
  • Portland
  • Spring
  • Engine Partners (owner of MHP)
  • Cohn & Wolfe
  • Nexus Communications Group
  • Forster Communications

Of the firms named, five were also named on the 'campaign solutions' roster. They are: Engine, Four, Freuds, Kindred and Munro & Forster.

This list is not final - the GCS is now observing a "standstill period", which must be at least 10 calendar days, to alllow for potential legal challenge.

Unless significant challenges are made, this period will conclude at midnight on 13 January.

Asked to comment on the list, a Cabinet Office spokesman said: "We will not be able to confirm who has been successful on the framework until the end of a legal cooling off period, which is normal for all Government frameworks.

However, the spokesman also said that the GCS was "delighted with the quality of bids", having received more than 1,000 bids in total from over 400 agencies for the various lots on the framework.

The roster also contains 11 other lots for a variety of other disciplines including specialist consultancy, events, digital marketing and social media, production and editorial, as well as an international lot.

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