Met Office puts centralised public/private brief to pitch

The Met Office is to stage a pitch for an agency to manage PR for its recently centralised private and public business operations.

Incumbent agency Prowse & Co, which oversees its public sector work, and Good Relations unit QBO, which looks after private sector PR work, will have to repitch. The agencies have held their contracts for three and two years, respectively.

The move comes five months after the Met Office renewed its contract with Prowse & Co and tasked it with finding fresh ways of communicating its work to the public (PRWeek, 2 November 2001).

'Both agencies are due for contract reviews in September and will be invited to repitch. The separate marketing and PR divisions overseeing the Met Office's public and private revenue interests have merged so it makes sense for the PR operation to be handed to just one agency,' said Met Office senior PRO Andy Yeatman.

The successful agency will report to a yet-to-be-appointed head of marketing.

Currently, the external PR agencies report to head of business development Kate Smith, who is also acting head of marketing.

The successful agency will also undertake a pan-European remit as the Met Office seeks to boost its business interests across the Continent and forge partnerships with overseas meteorological concerns.

'The Met Office has many concerns and customers, from mobile telephone users paying 20 pence for a weather update, to government offices such as the MoD. It demands an agency that can co-operate across our broad businesses,' added Yeatman.

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