The Government's internet initiative UK Online is staging a competitive pitch for its PR account, with Ogilvy PR Worldwide and Manning Salvage and Lee understood to be the two shortlisted agencies.
They are competing to win the right to provide integrated comms and delivery services for the Government drive to ensure that every UK citizen can access the net. The contract is up for grabs following UK Online's launch last month. Its aims are to ensure universal net access by 2005, to get all Government services on-line by that date and to make the UK a leading 'knowledge economy'.
Whichever agency wins the contract will be reporting to the Government's recently appointed director of e-communications, Lucian Hudson.
Hudson is based in the Cabinet Office and in this newly-created post reports to the Prime Minister's e-envoy. He heads the team responsible for developing the content for the UK on-line government portal and for co-ordinating work across departments and agencies to improve the quality of the Government's web offering.
To support the drive to get the country wired, the Government is investing in a variety of programmes. The core of services includes the provision of public centres for accessing the web; a small businesses web-site and a site which from a single point of entry will give access to all the Government information available on-line.