COI Communications faces up to the charges

COI Communications has overturned its controversial policy of charging design groups to apply to be on its roster and is conducting a more conventional trawl as it revises its main governmental design roster three years on.

There will be no fee for applicants to the latest roster, which will cover eight categories: corporate identity/brand creation/ implementation; brand guardianship/ management; corporate literature; promotional literature; communications audits; contract publishing; forms/information design; and image library creation/management.

Andrew Prince, COI director of publications, is looking for 25 to 30 consultancies in total on a roster that will run for three-to-five years. ‘We don’t want it to be unmanageable,’ he says.

Prince is looking for ‘an integrated creative approach’ that results in ‘appropriate’ design. ‘Propriety and financial stability’ are key to joining the roster, which is governed by European Union rules.

Groups on the current roster and those showing an interest in the COI over the past five years are invited to apply, but the agency is also open to approaches.

The roster will be supplemented by 25 to 30 ‘approved suppliers in design and layout’ editorial services, electronic template creation and proofreading. This will cover specialist groups and individuals.

Prince says the rethink, 18 months after former Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Alan Bishop joined as COI chief executive, reflects ‘what clients want and need’, he says.

The COI’s client base comprises public sector organisations only, ‘but there is no room to be complacent’, says Prince.

In 2001 the Design Business Association took the Government agency to task for charging consultancies to apply for a place on its roster. That intervention resulted in no change to the practice at the time.

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