PUBLIC SECT0R: NICS to grow expertise with 20 shops

The Northern Ireland Civil Service has quadrupled the number of its rostered agencies, who will compete for £3m worth of promotional work.

Following a regular review late last year the five-strong list has been increased to 20, in a bid to bring in more specialised expertise.

The revised list includes a mainland UK-based agency for the first time.

Bicester-based crisis comms and public sector specialist Razor PR has been placed on the list to be considered for any promotion of NI issues or campaigns to the rest of the UK.

Other work will mainly be to communicate to a NI audience.

Of the original roster Anderson Spratt Group, Weber Shandwick's Belfast office, Citigate Northern Ireland and Morrow Communications remain. Only Navigator Blue is missing from the current list.

Other new recruits include former politician Lord Laird's consultancy John Laird PR; Sam Butler; GCC Stormont Strategy; Future Image; consumer expert Life Communications; Brian Arlow; GCAS PR; Carmah Communications; DCL PR; Coppernoise Communications; Harrison Cowley's The Davidson Cockcroft Partnership; George Hamilton PR; Inform Communications; Aiken PR and Editorial Solutions.

NICS procurement manager Stuart Black said the current roster will not be reviewed for at least three years.

Previous campaigns include work last year by Citigate to promote the Invest Northern Ireland body to a UK audience.

Also Morrow Communications, which handles events for Invest Northern Ireland, previously handled the launch of a report calling for the controversial scrapping of the 11-plus school system.

- Anderson Spratt Group has this week been hired by central Government created regeneration body Laganside Corporation to handle its PR. The brief includes crisis management and media relations.

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