Agencies blast DoH pitch shambles

Agencies pitching for the Department of Health combined direct and digital account have branded the process a shambles, amid claims that the client team “don’t know their arse from their elbow”.
The review is being run separately from the current Government Procurement Services (GPS) pitch – itself beset by delays and widespread confusion – with an appointment originally expected by October 1.
But DecisionMarketing has been contacted by a number of agency bosses who claim the process has been plagued by unrealistic demands from the client team, and long delays in getting a response.
One chief, who did not want to be named, said: “They asked for the moon on a sixpence and have been late or non-contactable at every stage. We should start a group to voice how rubbish they are. We’re missing the COI.”
The COI closed earlier this year, having been set up in 1946, after the Coalition slashed government advertising and marketing spend by 68% from £532m in 2009/10 to about £168m in 2010/11.
At the time, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude controversially said the move was designed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government communications, which he claimed had “got out of hand”.
But it is said director of direct and relationship marketing and evaluation Marc Michaels – who oversaw hundreds of DM pitches over nearly 25 years – ran a highly organised process.
Another agency boss added: “This would never have happened under the COI regime. This lot don’t seem to know their arse from their elbow.”
It is understood up to 30 agencies were invited to an initial briefing; 15 were shortlisted and 5 will be invited for a creative presentation.
The move follows reports of delays in the pitch process for the Government’s advertising business, being overseen by the Government Procurement Service.
In an email sent to agencies from the IPA, the industry body said: “GPS has decided to extend the return date of the Communications: Creative Solutions, Execution and Related Services to 15:00 on Tuesday 9 October 2012.
“An error involving a single supplier during the expression of interest stage has been identified and in light of this we have decided to extend the tender deadline to ensure fairness to all suppliers.”

Related stories
DoH in digital and direct review
Marc Michaels to exit as COI closes

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