Confusion over the government’s strategy for event procurement has increased following the discovery that the Government Procurement Service (GPS) will no longer include events in the Creative Services framework due to be advertised next week.
Following the closure of the Central Office of Information (COI) - the provider of communication and publicity services to UK government departments - in March, a number of event agencies attended a briefing in late May, where plans for the Creative Services framework had been set out, incorporating direct marketing, PR, content and events procurement. Cabinet minister Francis Maude focused on the need for greater efficiencies, cost savings and more opportunities for small and medium enterprises.
However, Eventia chairman and former COI director of live events Simon Hughes told meetpie.com that Eventia members had discovered “the word events has now disappeared completely” from the Creative Services and Delivery framework due to be posted in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) next week.
Eventia now understand that the GPS has discovered that there are two other frameworks being developed which incorporate events - one for travel and venue finding in the travel category and a separate one pertaining to the UKTI’s inbound and outbound trade and investment events.
“Really, the GPS needs to decide where events will sit – that is the big question,” Hughes said. “It is not providing a clear and direct route to market, and it is frustrating to members to apply to multiple points to find opportunities for business.”
Hughes said Eventia has now offered to help the government clarify its event procurement plans.
“The legacy COI Live Events framework was due to run until November 2013 anyway, so to now change their minds and not communicate clearly to interested parties is certainly perplexing some of our members. It looks like the Communications Category Team at GPS could do with some expert advice and assistance. They need to consult with both stakeholders and the marketplace to avoid creating false expectations."