Public Affairs: Accenture kicks off search for first UK lobbyist

Accenture, the world's biggest management and technology consultancy, is on the hunt for its first dedicated UK lobbyist as it seeks to strengthen its grip on lucrative government contracts.

Accenture UK & Ireland director of marketing and comms Peter Thomas confirmed the company was in the 'early stages of meeting candidates' for the role of UK head of government relations. The postholder will report to the firm's head of government relations in Washington, Liz Arky.

Thomas said the role was necessary because of the growth of the business in the UK, which pulled in fullyear revenues of £1.3bn for 2004 while employing 10,000 people. 'You have a natural impact on government and stakeholders when you reach that size,' he said.

It is currently managing what it has described as a 'major engagement' for the Department of Work and Pensions. It is also managing two of the five NHS National Programme for IT contracts, which involve making all patient records available electronically.

These are carved up into five regional clusters of strategic health authorities, with Accenture responsible for the North-East and the East. However, in its latest quarterly results, the company admitted that the contracts would not be profitable until 2007.

Its private sector clients include Sainsbury's, which blamed the supplier last year over a logistics system that failed to track stock properly.

Accenture does not retain a public affairs consultancy in the UK but uses Burson-Marsteller to manage its corporate reputation and media relations. Accenture competes with the likes of EDS, Capgemini and IBM.

Thomas was recruited by Accenture last year from Hill & Knowlton.

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