Boots puts its public affairs up for tender

The Boots Company is reviewing its public affairs account which has been held by GJW for the past five years.

The Boots Company is reviewing its public affairs account which has

been held by GJW for the past five years.



Boots’ group head of external affairs Martin Wakeling has invited seven

agencies to pitch for the account, including Westminster Strategy, Bell

Pottinger Public Affairs, Shandwick and GJW.



The agency brief encompasses all aspects of UK government relations,

from monitoring to strategic advice, for the seven companies within the

Boots group.



These are Boots the Chemists; Boots Opticians; motor accessory outlets

Halfords; DIY chain Do-It-All; medicine manufacturer Boots Contract

Manufacturing; Boots Healthcare International, which develops and

markets Boots’ medicines; and Boots Properties, which manages shop sites

and has interests in retail parks.



Wakeling said: ’It’s the right time to review our needs and those

agencies that may be able to meet them.’



The seven agencies invited to pitch will present to Wakeling, group

public affairs manager Peter Gibson, Boots The Chemists’ director of

communications Ian Wright and head of corporate affairs for Boots

Healthcare International Tim Rycroft, who will together decide on a

shortlist of four.



GJW, which last month admitted to allegations in the Observer newspaper

that one of its employees, Karl Milner, improperly passed confidential

Government information to a third party, will have a place on the

shortlist.



Wakeling identified the two main issues on Boots’ political agenda as

the Government’s abolition of GP fund-holding in favour of primary

healthcare groups and the impact this will have on the role of

pharmacists as well as the recent White Paper on integrated transport

and how it will affect access to city centres.



For the year ending last March, the Boots company recorded an operating

profit of pounds 542 million, up 7.7 per cent on the previous year and a

turnover of pounds 4,976 million, up 11.7 per cent.



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