NEWS: Royal Mail review prompts protests

The Royal Mail has announced the pitch shortlist for its lucrative national PR business, amid fierce criticism about the review process from two dropped agencies.

The Royal Mail has announced the pitch shortlist for its lucrative

national PR business, amid fierce criticism about the review process

from two dropped agencies.



The business - one of three business divisions within the Post Office -

is poised to select two agencies, one for consumer and one for business

PR, for combined fees thought to top pounds 1.5 million.



Four agencies are pitching for the business, they are: The Communication

Group and incumbent TRM, for business PR, and The Quentin Bell

Organisation, also incumbent, and The Public Relations Business for

consumer work.



Excluded from the shortlist are previous incumbents Leedex, Flare PR and

Paragon Communications.



The three failed to make it through to an earlier round in which eight

agencies were selected by a Royal Mail panel from credentials obtained

by the PR-wing of the Advertising Agency Register, which provides

information for bodies seeking consultancies.



The way the review has been conducted has sparked furious protest from

some agencies.



Julia Thorn, chairman of Paragon, which has worked for the Royal Mail

for three years, said that ‘by any normal professional standards this

review was farcical’.



She said: ‘ It is apparent that none of our client contacts within the

Royal Mail were involved in the decision, even to the extent that we had

to tell them what was going on.



‘We have registered our concerns and disquiet with the Royal Mail.’



Meanwhile, Flare MD Caryl Skelton said: ‘The way our relationship was

terminated left a lot to be desired.’



A spokesman for the Royal Mail said it selected the four agencies after

being ‘most impressed’ by their credentials’.



Responding to claims that the clients of excluded incumbents were left

out of the process, he emphasised that representatives of all Royal Mail

businesses were included.



He said: ‘It is very important to us that the best possible results were

achieved in the fairest possible way.’



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