While the government has repeatedly cut back on advertising and marketing spending (notwithstanding today’s launch of Make Your Future Happen), some interesting news from the Minister for Civil Society.
According to Third Sector magazine, Nick Hurd claims the government can help charities save money by offering them access to approved government procurement rosters:
I’m talking about things you can buy in bulk that can be standardised. That can range from energy to fleet to professional services or traditional office stationery.
For public relations and other marketing disciplines, which might fall into the ‘professional services’ category, this could be big news. Could it lead to the new look Central Office of Information (or the new Department for Education-led marketing services roster) now briefing out all public and charity PR work?
Well, I’d certainly urge caution. Firstly, many professional services can’t be commoditised like toilet rolls or bottles of water. And secondly, in PR circles, most agencies I know will offer bigger discounts to charities than they will through public sector frameworks.
But the idea of some form of vague communications roster for charities to call from, to save money, improve standards, deliver consistency in service levels and transparency in billing and costs could be an interesting one – but probably best owned by NCVO, or one of the other umbrella bodies.