'The debate around the effective local delivery of services and value for money is becoming the defining issue of this parliament,' said Consolidated public affairs director Ian Hagg.
The commission issued a tender for a PA consultancy back in April. After taking submissions and proposals, Consolidated is understood to have clinched the business against Media Strategy and 18-month incumbent Lexington Communications.
Audit Commission MD of comms and public reporting Richard Peel and head of external comms Victor Smart oversaw the review.
This week the commission warned that the Government's healthcare payment-by-results system – rewarding NHS trusts directly for every job done – could force some hospital departments to close. It also called for casualty units to be protected from the policy.
In the local government arena, councils in England and Wales are bracing themselves for the commission's tougher Comprehensive Performance Assessment.