Saturday, 26 July 2014
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No place for design groups on Government creative roster

There are no specialist design or branding groups on the Government’s new Creative Solutions Framework, which replaces the previous Central Office of Information rosters.

Houses of Parliament

Source: Berto Garcia

Houses of Parliament

The Government Procurement Service, which is managing the framework, says design groups may be able to access work either by being subcontracted by a rostered agency, or by applying through the Agile Route to Market system, which is for work valued at under £100 000.

The new Creative Solutions Framework replaces nine previous COI rosters. The COI previously operated specialist design rosters including branding and brand identity, content and publishing and design and related services.

A total of 30 groups have been appointed to the new framework, which Government says compares to 415 companies rostered on the COI frameworks.

Ten groups have been appointed to the marketing communications and related services lot, although none are specialist design or branding groups.

The agencies are: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, DLKW Lowe, Engine Partners UK, Enter Here, Inferno, Kindred Agency, M&C Saatchi, McCann Erickson, RKCR/Y&R and Ogilvy & Mather.

Other lots have been put in place for direct marketing, digital marketing, PR and direct marketing.

Wendy Proctor, deputy director of the Cabinet Office Shared Communications Services, says, ‘A lot of these agencies can provide a range of services, and successful agencies will also be able to sub-contract work.’

She says design work such as graphics or branding would ‘potentially’ be subcontracted through these rostered groups.

A Cabinet Office statement says, ‘Further opportunities will be created where there is requirement for more specialist support as framework suppliers will be able to acquire this expertise from within their own supply chain.’ Proctor says, ‘There is a lot more flexibility in this system.’

The framework will be in place for two years, with an option to extend for a further two, and Alex Aiken, executive director for Government Communications, says Government will be engaging with industry bodies – including those in the design sector, during this period.

Cabinet Office says the new centralised framework system could save around £3 million a year and will also lead to more productive working relationships with suppliers – with more than 80 per cent of groups on previous frameworks receiving no business during 2011/12.

Readers' comments (2)

  • No surprise there. It is clear that the Government and the Civil Service do not understand or appreciate the value of design.

    So, the solution to better value and better, more effective ideas is to use advertising agencies to sub-contract to design agencies. Clever thinking. Thanks!

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  • With 90% of all design and communication agencies in the UK being between 0-4 people, clearly the Government’s new Creative Solutions Framework is cutting off it's nose to spite it's face given that there are apparently NO SME's on this roster. Many SME's who can offer outstanding creativity and value for money... the same SME's that are meant to be the backbone of the industry. 
    Astonishing

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