The brief consists of a full-service public affairs programme, including building partnerships with other parliamentary health organisations and working alongside the new Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professionals (CRHP).
The RPSGB called for a review of the five-year contract because its internal governance rules require all major contracts to be subject to regular review and competition. It has resulted in a five-way pitch between incumbent agency Connect Public Affairs, Weber Shandwick GJW, GPC International and two other agencies.
The successful agency will be expected to ensure that the introduction of pharmacists as supplementary prescribers continues to gain support in parliament and to highlight the RPSGB’s potential governmental advisory position as the regulatory and professional body for all the 44,000 pharmacists in Britain.
‘It is crucial to the continued public confidence in the profession that the society is highly visible as an authoritative, credible influence,’ said RPSGB director of public affairs and comms Beverley Parkin. ‘Through a priority-led, responsive approach to a big, fast-moving agenda, we have been successful, not only in supporting the development of the pharmacy profession but also in helping to establish a presence for the society with opinion-formers.’
The biggest challenge facing the agency will be maintaining the balance of public access to both the RPSGB’s supermarket and small village pharmacy members.
The RPSGB was set up in 1841 by a group of leading chemists and druggists to develop, lead and regulate pharmacists’ practice. Membership is now compulsory for all pharmacists.
The agencies will present their pitches before a selection panel on 11 March. The winning agency will report to Parkin and work alongside the society’s in-house PR team.