Buying communication support
If you need to work with an agency to deliver a campaign or provide a specific service as part of your communications, there are two communications frameworks that enable you to do this.
Campaigns Solutions and Communications Services are two new communications frameworks that you can use to buy campaigns or communications support. These frameworks are mandatory for Central Government Departments and are open to the whole of the public sector including local government.
Use the correct framework
Campaigns Solutions is for end-to-end campaigns
This means that any agency on this framework can deliver your entire campaign, from coming up with a strategy, suggesting your channels, implementing the plan through to evaluating its impact.
There is one lot so you only need to issue one brief with all your requirements – all 27 agencies on this Lot can bid for work. This is a new way of working and means your brief must be solution-focused so that you get the most out of the new framework and agencies.
Communications Services is for specific services that are part of a campaign or for a one-off project
There are eleven Lots on this framework and it covers a variety of services. Depending on what you need, your brief should only be issued to the agencies on the Lot you require. The Lots are:
- channel planning
- PR (specialist and regional)
- proposition development
- creative development
- digital marketing (specialist and regional)
How the agencies were selected
All agencies on both frameworks have gone through a rigorous selection process to ensure they can deliver work of the highest standards. All agencies’ bids were assessed by senior government communicators against the core Government Communication Service (GCS) OASIS framework (OASIS stands for Objective, Audience insight, Strategy, Implementation, Scoring/evaluation) and evaluation principles.
How to use the frameworks
Guidance is available for both frameworks and includes templates for drafting your brief and assessing agencies’ proposals.
A full list of all agencies on both frameworks can be found in the guidance document.
All relevant documents and information you need to get started for both frameworks can be found on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) website:
When running communications and campaigns, media channels (such as advertising space, partnerships, events and sponsorship) regionally, nationally and internationally across off and online channels may need to be bought.
An agreement exists to enable government and wider public sector organisations to buy media channels from a single supplier, Manning Gottlieb OMD (a division of OMD Group Ltd), who have set up a government media team to buy across all off and online channels on your behalf in the UK and overseas.
This gives a number of benefits including:
- reduced advertising spend and transparency of where taxpayers’ money is spent and on what
- commission fee neutrality
- high-quality media placement
- robust pricing guarantees and benefits methodologies
- enhanced terms and conditions
- annual contract review
- performance management and incentives
- flexible framework agreement
- process efficiency effectiveness
- best practice sharing
Before using this agreement you must have internal approval for your budget. If you’re in Central Government and spending over £100,000, you will need approval from the Professional Assurance Group.
If you are a new customer email Adam Skinner, Group Projects Director, at email@example.com who will assign a member of the media team to you.
Check the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) website for more information about the agreement.
If you are planning a campaign and need to buy communications services and support, speak to your departmental Super User in the first instance. Super Users are departmental experts and have been fully briefed and trained on how to use the frameworks. They should also have final approval of your brief before you send it and should be present on any face-to-face pitches that you run as part of the process. A list of all Super Users can be found in the guidance document.
If you have an internal procurement team, it is recommended that you speak to them about your plans and if you intend to use these frameworks to buy the support you need.
You can also contact the Communications Category Team at Crown Commercial Service, which is made up of professional communicators and procurement experts. They can offer comprehensive advice and guidance to help you to get the most from your budget to ensure quality, cost-effective and successful campaigns.
Call Crown Commercial Service help desk on 0345 410 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.