COI defends designers’ contracts

The Central Office of Information Communications has defended its creative services roster contracts, following criticism from design industry sources.

Consultancies’ main gripe appears to be with the clause that says the COI has the right to terminate the contract or the project at any time and retain intellectual property rights for any work done.

But COI chief executive Carol Fisher defends the organisation’s position and believes that consultancies should welcome the opportunities the roster provides.

‘If we have paid for the work we have commissioned then that work has to be our copyright. We want to have small consultancies on our roster as well as big ones and we are not in a position to negotiate contracts individually,’ says Fisher.

‘There are consultancies that, without the roster, would not get access to Government work at all. Consultancies need to say, as a commercial reality, “Do we want to be considered for some of this work?” It is their choice,’ she adds.

The COI has been dogged by criticism of its handling of the creation of a creative services roster since news broke that it would be charging groups a £50 administration fee to process their applications (DW 16 February). It drew further flak over the size of the roster when it transpired that some 22 consultancies had already secured their places on it and it still had 100 applications to evaluate.

The COI refuses to reveal how many consultancies are on the now completed roster.

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