DfES appoints PN and August.One to roster

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has appointed a new PR roster, with Porter Novelli and August.One Communications new entrants to the list.

It has also re-appointed six agencies – Fishburn Hedges, Hill & Knowlton, The Forster Company, Trimedia Communications, Harrison Cowley and Geronimo – but Colman Getty and Sheffield- based Pure PR have been dropped. The firms were selected from a shortlist of 15 for the three-year contracts that may extend by two years.

It is understood that each agency will have to pitch for business as it emerges. Future campaigns will build on high-profile comms projects such as Connexions, the careers and counselling advisory service for teenagers, Education Maintenance Allow- ances and Aim Higher, a campaign encouraging teenagers to stay on at school.

August.One managing director Sophie Brooks, who was appointed to the roster for the first time, said: ‘We did a project for the Children and Young People Unit, which is part of the DfES, and got this business from the COI roster. That enabled us to apply and be appointed to the DfES.’

The DfES is one of three government departments to manage its own roster alongside the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions, which recently announced it is to manage its own marcoms roster for the first time (PRWeek, 25 June), in addition to its corporate comms roster set up to handle campaign work last year.

Central Office of Information (COI) senior corporate PR manager Janice O’Reilly said it was ‘unlikely’ that each department would end up with its own roster, with the DoH and the DfES still working closely with the COI on PR procurement matters despite managing their own relationships with external suppliers.

The COI is currently reviewing its £10m roster (PRWeek, 4 June). It has so far sent application forms to more than 250 interested agencies, the biggest response the COI has ever witnessed.

O’Reilly said: ‘The interest in the public sector has never been bigger. This is down to an expanded market and because there is a large range of projects people can work on, from domestic violence to encouraging people to stay on at school.’

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