Tendering for a multi-million pound PR contract to promote EU policy on
‘the information society’ is in disarray after DGXIII, the department of
the European Commission which is handling the selection, was told it has
been using the wrong procedure.
The blunder comes just one month after DGVI pulled the plug on tenders
for the pounds 24 million olive oil account after it too discovered it
had been using the wrong selection method (PR Week 29 September).
The commission’s Comite Consultatif des Achats et Marche (CCAM) has
censured DGXIII for using a procedure which involves ‘uncompetitive’
elements such as shortlisting and subjectively-judged pitches.
Instead, the committee, which monitors all tenders and purchases of
goods and services on behalf of the commission, has ruled that DGXIII
must re-issue the tender invitation on a task-by-task basis.
Assistant to the director-general Detlef Eckert, who has been co-
ordinating the agency search, said: ‘There are some internal procedures
which we have to look at again.
‘We thought we could have a list of companies and choose from that, but
now we have to define each task and select an agency for it. I can’t do
anything about it. That’s bureaucracy. The committee must decide.’
He added that a renewed call for tenders will be published shortly in
the Official Journal of the European Communities, with a final decision
due early next year.
The account was first advertised in the Official Journal in April,
generating applications from 35 PR agencies for a pan-European campaign
worth between Ecu 1million and Ecu 5 million (pounds 830,000-pounds 4.2
million) to promote EU policy on information technology and
A shortlist of ten agencies, was drawn up in September and a final
decision was expected this month.
Consultancies have expressed their irritation with the commission and
the way it has handled the selection issue.
One agency head in Brussels told PR Week: ‘It’s dispiriting for the
staff that put a lot of work and time into the project. At the end of
the day no-one gets anything out of it, neither us nor the Commission.’