UK Government Investments (UKGI) is planning to create a new framework with an external supplier that will act as its public relations and press office department.
The government-owned asset management company – which was behind the deal that completed the privatisation of Royal Mail and the sale of Eurostar - will launch a competitive tender process for the work next month.
UKGI is no stranger to controversial media coverage, as it has also worked closely with government departments to develop and agree the contractual arrangements underpinning the new nuclear power station project Hinkley Point C, with EDF and China General Nuclear Corporation.
Last year, EDF released a statement in response to reported delays in the Hinkley point timetable, saying it had been the subject of an "anonymous press campaign", that it said was "seriously harmful to our interests".
Other projects include the sale of government shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and of Northern Rock mortgages by UKGI’s subsidiary, UK Financial Investments (UKFI).
The new deal – which will run for two years with the possible option of a year-long extension – is set to launch next summer, and will include financial PR, as well as supporting UKGI in its activities advising government on large transactions and asset disposals.
Agency Citigate Dewe Rogerson is currently working with UKGI on a £100,000 comms contract that kicked off on 1 July this year and will run to 30 June 2018.
A Treasury comms spokesperson told PRWeek: "UKGI have begun the search for a new supplier to provide financial communications advice and support.
"If a new supplier is chosen, it will be onboarded shortly before the current contract ends on 30 June 2018 to ensure a smooth continuity of service."
Under the current contract, Citigate is required to handle reactive media enquiries and working with UKGI to develop and deliver a comprehensive communication strategy, as well as preparing UKGI’s senior team for media engagement, Parliamentary appearances and for giving evidence at select committees.
The contract also covers developing communications materials including press notices, briefing notes, and providing insights into the media landscape, along with boosting the public profile of the organisation and protecting its reputation.
Prior to the current contract, Citigate had been awarded a £70,000 deal to carry out financial comms for UKGI from 3 January to 15 April 2017.
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