NEWS: Agencies to retender after DGXIII blunder

Tendering for a multi-million pound PR contract to promote EU policy on ‘the information society’ is in disarray after DGXIII, the department of the European Commission which is handling the selection, was told it has been using the wrong procedure.

Tendering for a multi-million pound PR contract to promote EU policy on

‘the information society’ is in disarray after DGXIII, the department of

the European Commission which is handling the selection, was told it has

been using the wrong procedure.



The blunder comes just one month after DGVI pulled the plug on tenders

for the pounds 24 million olive oil account after it too discovered it

had been using the wrong selection method (PR Week 29 September).



The commission’s Comite Consultatif des Achats et Marche (CCAM) has

censured DGXIII for using a procedure which involves ‘uncompetitive’

elements such as shortlisting and subjectively-judged pitches.



Instead, the committee, which monitors all tenders and purchases of

goods and services on behalf of the commission, has ruled that DGXIII

must re-issue the tender invitation on a task-by-task basis.



Assistant to the director-general Detlef Eckert, who has been co-

ordinating the agency search, said: ‘There are some internal procedures

which we have to look at again.



‘We thought we could have a list of companies and choose from that, but

now we have to define each task and select an agency for it. I can’t do

anything about it. That’s bureaucracy. The committee must decide.’



He added that a renewed call for tenders will be published shortly in

the Official Journal of the European Communities, with a final decision

due early next year.



The account was first advertised in the Official Journal in April,

generating applications from 35 PR agencies for a pan-European campaign

worth between Ecu 1million and Ecu 5 million (pounds 830,000-pounds 4.2

million) to promote EU policy on information technology and

telecommunications.



A shortlist of ten agencies, was drawn up in September and a final

decision was expected this month.



Consultancies have expressed their irritation with the commission and

the way it has handled the selection issue.



One agency head in Brussels told PR Week: ‘It’s dispiriting for the

staff that put a lot of work and time into the project. At the end of

the day no-one gets anything out of it, neither us nor the Commission.’



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