The Royal Mail has announced the pitch shortlist for its lucrative
national PR business, amid fierce criticism about the review process
from two dropped agencies.
The business - one of three business divisions within the Post Office -
is poised to select two agencies, one for consumer and one for business
PR, for combined fees thought to top pounds 1.5 million.
Four agencies are pitching for the business, they are: The Communication
Group and incumbent TRM, for business PR, and The Quentin Bell
Organisation, also incumbent, and The Public Relations Business for
Excluded from the shortlist are previous incumbents Leedex, Flare PR and
The three failed to make it through to an earlier round in which eight
agencies were selected by a Royal Mail panel from credentials obtained
by the PR-wing of the Advertising Agency Register, which provides
information for bodies seeking consultancies.
The way the review has been conducted has sparked furious protest from
Julia Thorn, chairman of Paragon, which has worked for the Royal Mail
for three years, said that ‘by any normal professional standards this
review was farcical’.
She said: ‘ It is apparent that none of our client contacts within the
Royal Mail were involved in the decision, even to the extent that we had
to tell them what was going on.
‘We have registered our concerns and disquiet with the Royal Mail.’
Meanwhile, Flare MD Caryl Skelton said: ‘The way our relationship was
terminated left a lot to be desired.’
A spokesman for the Royal Mail said it selected the four agencies after
being ‘most impressed’ by their credentials’.
Responding to claims that the clients of excluded incumbents were left
out of the process, he emphasised that representatives of all Royal Mail
businesses were included.
He said: ‘It is very important to us that the best possible results were
achieved in the fairest possible way.’