Under the arrangements, local authorities will not automatically run new schools that open in their area. Instead, they must now invite bids from other bodies such as faith groups, educational bodies and parental groups.
DTW has been brought in to handle PR and public consultation duties for competitions to run schools in the north of England.
The agency’s duties will include media relations and monitoring, organising bidder and public meetings, and placing statutory ads in the media. There is also the potential for some crisis management.
DTW managing director Peter Whelan said: ‘Some bids could become very contentious locally but we have plenty of experience of dealing with this situation from our work in areas such as waste management.’
Between 50 and 100 schools are opened across the country every year. Money to build schools is provided by central government.
Whelan said: ‘The consultation process will take place when a local authority decides a new school is needed.’
The competition process has been introduced under the Education and Inspections Act 2006. It requires all local authorities to invite bids to run all proposed new schools.
DTW is believed to be the only specialist PR outfit undertaking communications work for the new initiative.
In the south of England, a communications and consultation contract has been handed to the non-profit making Office for Public Management. In the Midlands, it has been awarded to management consultants Deloitte.