The Department for International Trade (DIT) currently works with M&C Saatchi, which looks after its overseas work, and Ogilvy, which takes care of the UK activity.
However, with these contracts coming to an end, the department has decided to bring its international and domestic campaigns, which include its work on the 'GREAT' campaign, under a single creative agency for the first time.
The overseas and domestic work of DIT is regarded by officials as being two sides of the same coin and having a single agency is expected to result in time and cost savings.
The successful agency will need to be able to operate in various locations worldwide. It will also need to be capable of providing additional services, such as PR, whether that is through partnerships with other agencies or simply subcontracting work out.
The total value of the contract has not been publicly disclosed, but PRWeek's sister title, Campaign, reported earlier this week that the fee could run to £10m a year.
David Watson, the DIT's deputy director of comms and marketing, is leading the process, which is being run through the Crown Commercial Service and is open to the 26 agencies on the government's campaigns solutions framework.
These include Engine, Four Communications Group, Freud Communications, Grayling Communications, Kindred and WPP, among others.
An invitation to tender was issued earlier this month and PRWeek understands that almost all the agencies on the framework have expressed an interest in the new contract.
Pitches will take place next month and the successful agency, to be appointed in March, will be awarded a two-year contract that could be extended to four years.
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