Atos Origin moots agency hire for govt relations

IT supplier Atos Origin is in talks with public affairs agencies as it looks to augment ties with Westminster and Whitehall in its pursuit of government contracts.

The talks come after the Cabinet Office last week awarded the French firm a £47m contract to provide services for the ‘government gateway', which will enable the public to make online transactions, such as tax returns, with government and local authorities.

It also this month clinched a  £220m contract from the Department for Constitutional Affairs, taking responsibility for integrating three IT infrastructures, comprising 28,000 desktops across 700 locations. In addition it is a supplier to the NHS's National Programme for IT, specifically the ‘choose and book' system.

According to Atos Origin global PR manager Caroline Crouch, it has used London-based consultancy Terring­tons to provide PA advice for over five years. She confirmed Atos Origin had been ‘chatting to different [public affairs] companies' but stressed that talks were at an exploratory stage.

The firm, which competes with Capgemini, Fujitsu Services and IBM Global Services, generates most of its UK revenues from contracts in the public sector. It has, however, become the worldwide information technology partner for the Olympic Games as part of an effort to boost brand awareness.

Its clients in the private sector include LloydsTSB and Vodafone. Atos Origin is led by France-based chief executive Bernard Bourigeaud.

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