RSPCA replaces LLM with AS Biss for 'welfare' drive

LLM Communications has lost its decade-long grip on the RSPCA's public affairs account.

The animal welfare group has instead appointed AS Biss & Co as its retained agency after a competitive pitch (PRWeek, 3 Nov) - its first review in five years.

The move comes as the RSPCA refocuses its public affairs work following the passing of the Animal Welfare Act, which will come into force next year. ‘It is one of the last big changes to occur in the UK on animal welfare,' said head of external affairs David Bowles.

AS Biss aims to raise the RSPCA's profile in new policy areas. Bowles said these could include urban regeneration and renewal (issues of responsible pet ownership in cities) and even domestic violence (the way in which pets can be mistreated in abusive relationships).

Bowles told PRWeek: ‘We want to get into new areas of pol­icy and new ministries, making the wider population and policy-makers aware of the links.'

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the government department with which the RSPCA usually deals, but AS Biss will seek to expand its influence into the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasury, among others.

‘Our purpose is [still] to improve standards for animals. We say there are ways to improve standards not traditionally seen as being in the animal area,' said Bowles.

AS Biss, which has signed a one-year rolling contract, has worked on projects for the RSPCA since 2004 and beat agencies inclu­ding Insight Public Affairs and Connect Public Affairs.

The account is led by AS Biss deputy managing director Gavin Devine, who reports to Bowles.

LLM director Ben Lucas, who had run the RSPCA account since the agency won the contract in 1997, would not say whether the agency had repitched.

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