Some of the groups are indifferent to being dropped and have said being a BBC consultancy is not financially viable. The current roster has been in place since 1 June 2008 and expires this week, but while the BBC says it will ’extend a number of these contracts for 12 months’ with the option of a further 12-month extension next year, it says there will not be a roster review.
Elmwood chairman Jonathan Sands says the group has felt the financial pressure of being a rostered BBC consultancy. Sands says, ’Pragmatically, although we have been a rostered agency for many years, increasingly we had to pitch for every project.
The work involved was often significant, yet the budgets – should we be successful – relatively small.’ Two of those effected, Designate and Easy Tiger, are suggesting that despite being given the option to reapply for the roster, they have declined, citing cost-effectiveness and a protracted procurement process as unscaleable obstacles.
Kerry Wright, board account director for Designate, says that the consultancy’s initial tender process started in June 2007, before a pre-qualification questionnaire submission in autumn 2007 and a 14-page tender document in January 2008, prior to a face-to-face meeting and eventual appointment in May 2008. ’We went through all of that – think of all the costs of travel and hotels – only for three briefs to appear on the project wall [the broadcaster posts its projects on www.bravosolution.com],’ says Wright.
’Costs have been high and the return has been zero.’ Easy Tiger director Brenda Lardner describes being dropped as ’a great relief’. She says, ’We have huge issues with the BBC. Mainly, working in the public sector we find most [design buyers] to be very good, but costs incurred with the BBC are enormous for a small consultancy.’
Lardner adds, ’It brings into question publicsector tension through time consumption. To run into the ground a so-called “best agency” on cost and process shows a lack of awareness. We would have resigned anyway if we hadn’t got the call.’ Love Creative and Inferno were unable to comment at the time of going to press.
A second roster, for creative services including strategy and identity, will be put out to tender in July. An EU procurement process will be held and prospective consultancies can find more information from bbc.co.uk/supplying, from where a downloadable tender form can be found via Bravosolutions, after the contract notice has been published by the Official Journal for the European Union.
- The new marketing communications and design roster for the BBC is 999, Blast, D8, Harriman Steel, Premm Design, Red Stone Design andStudio Output
- Almost half its original size, the new roster will be reviewed in 12 months’ time
- The strategy and identity design services roster will be reviewed in July