British Council head of brand and design Tony Bains says, ’If we want to spend more than £25 000 on a piece of marketing we will have to apply to the [Government’s] Efficiency and Reform Group, and the rules about work below that figure are very, very cloudy.’ He adds, ’At the moment we do not have any clarification about what we can do and I have had to tell our groups that until further notice we don’t know what work there is.’
The ERG was set up at the end of last month as a joint initiative between the Treasury and the Cabinet Office. Its aim is to help the Governmentachieve £6.2bn in spending cuts. A spokesman for the Cabinet Office confirmed that as well as freezing all non-essential advertising and marketing spend, the ERG has also ruled that it must clear all projects with a spend of more than £25 000.
These regulations will be in place for the next financial year. The new British Council roster features fewer than half the number of consultanciesthat were on the previous roster. In addition, just two consultancies from the old framework – 999 Design and Navigate – have made it on to the new list of 12 groups.
’Five years ago when we drew up the last roster we had 25 groups, but we just didn’t have enough work for that many consultancies and some were never even approached,’ says Bains. ’With a smaller roster you can build up a relationship with the consultancies and manage your brand’s consistency better,’ he adds.
The new roster was assembled through a ’blind’ pitching process, in which the British Council viewed creative work without knowing which groups were responsible for it. The result, says Bains, is a significant increase in the number of groups from the North. Fewer groups from the South of England and the devolved countries applied this year.
’The standard of work was much higher than usual, and we had more applications,’ says Bains.
British Council’s new roster
- 999 Design
- Mark Studio
- Multi Adaptor
- Love Creative
- True North
- WPA Pinfold
- Iris Associates
- B&W Studio
- Origin Creative Design