Proximity London is facing yet another statutory review of its TV Licensing business – an account it has held for 15 years – as the organisation seeks to ensure it is getting “value for money”.
The agency’s current contract was due to expire two years ago but it was extended for a further 18 months. The bulk of Proximity’s work targets the student community, while main contractor Capita runs the enforcement activity. AMV BBDO handles the advertising account, although this is not currently affected.
The process, revealed on the Official Journal of the European Union, is being handled by TV Licensing’s procurement department. Hinting that the agency will be facing pressure to reduce its costs, a spokesman said that “since 1991, costs as a proportion of income have halved, down from 6.2% in 1991 to 3.1% in 2015/16”.
The move follows a report by the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which was highly critical of TV Licensing’s main contractor Capita.
It reported that TV Licensing evasion has not reduced to the levels targeted by the BBC and Capita, and still stands at between 6.2% and 7.2%. Every percentage point of evasion costs the BBC over £40m a year in lost revenue.
Some three million enforcement visits were carried out in 2015–16, but 18% fewer evaders were caught than in 2010–11, when only 2.7 million visits took place.
Capita is unclear about the reasons for this and about its plans to improve the situation. We are also concerned by recent reports of improper conduct by some Capita staff.
The report concluded that “BBC and Capita have much to do to improve evasion and enforcement performance”.
A spokesman for TV Licensing said: “We regularly review all contracts to ensure best value for money for licence fee payers and we will be running a fair, open and competitive procedure.”
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