The contract, which can be extended by up to one year before it next goes to a mandatory re-pitch, was won by Freuds after it went up against three other shortlisted agencies.
It continues a relationship that predates PHE’s formation in 2013, stretching back to 2008, when the Department of Health administered health campaigns including 'Change4Life'.
PRWeek understands that up to 15 people at Freuds will work full-time on delivering the contract, with additional part-time consultants where needed.
The agency will work on some of PHE’s flagship campaigns, including its annual smoking-cessation effort, 'Stoptober'.
PHE declined to place a value on the public-sector contract it put out last August, telling PRWeek the information was "commercially sensitive".
However, it did say that the value of the contract was dependent on overall expenditure and that a significant element would be on the basis of "payment by results".
After PHE's formation in 2013, DoH moved all comms and marketing responsibilities to PHE, the NHS Commissioning Board and local government, with an overall marketing budget worth nearly £55m in the year 2013/14.
Commenting on why Freuds won out over others on the shortlist, Sheila Mitchell, director of marketing at PHE, said: "Freuds delivered a really exciting pitch, underpinned by a thorough understanding of how to change behaviour through consumer engagement. Formal procurement procedures were followed and Freuds received the highest marks from the assessment panel."
She also detailed the scope of the work to be undertaken during the tenure of the contract: "Freuds will provide a programme of consumer engagement across the three life courses: Starting Well, Living Well, and Ageing Well. The contract also includes other ad hoc requirements, where PHE is seeking to get information out to the public as rapidly and as cost effectively as possible."
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