The Department for Work and Pensions has shortlisted consultancies for a pitch to create the department’s interactive television strategy for the next two years.
The interactive initiative is understood to command a total budget of £1.8m, which includes commercial and contractual fees, as well as broadcast time.
It is understood consultancies will be informed 23 August whether they have been invited to present creative concepts for the project. It follows written submissions on strategy, which also involved some creative work, that were handed over last week.
The department is keen to develop interactive television as a communications channel, but the initiative will start off as a pilot project that will be developed further if successful.
‘[The project is to] build, deliver and test a pilot service that should go through to early spring 2003,’ confirms a DWP spokeswoman.
The first phase will be to develop a test platform, to see how information can be delivered and how people can communicate with the department. While the brief will be iTV-led, sources indicate it will also look at how content can be delivered via other platforms.
Work is due to get under way at the beginning of next year.
Interactive television is increasingly looked at by the Government as a way of communicating with the public. The National Health Service, along with Telewest, is launching a pilot scheme using iTV to provide patients with information on a range of health services such as illness, treatment and local hospitals. The Living Health scheme is scheduled to go live in September.
DWP was formed out of the employment division of the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Social Security after Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered a departmental overhaul following the winning of a second term in June.
Corporate Edge is working on the department’s core corporate identity, following its appointment in June. The consultancy won the work thanks to its inclusion on the Central Office of Information Communications roster.
DWP has said that it is unlikely it will be forming its own roster (DW 21 June).