To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions (a) he and (b) the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills has had with M&C Saatchi on their contract to relaunch the marketing campaign promoting apprenticeships.
22 November 2018
The decision to appoint M&C Saatchi as the lead creative and strategic agency for the apprenticeships marketing campaign followed an independent and impartial, quality assured procurement process led by the Department for Education’s (DfE) strategic communications team. This was conducted via the Campaign Solutions framework co-ordinated by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), which maintains a roster of 27 best-in-class advertising agencies capable of designing and delivering a major national campaign. More information on the framework can be found at: https://ccs-agreements.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/contracts/rm3774.
After an initial engagement meeting with all interested agencies, the brief for the apprenticeships campaign was issued to all 27 agencies on the roster. Three agencies were successful at the first stage and subsequently invited to present their proposals to a team of communications professionals including DfE’s Director of Communications and the Cabinet Office Head of Campaigns. Throughout this process, additional support was provided by professionals from the DfE Commercial Directorate and the CCS. A cross-government team, comprising specialists from the Cabinet Office and Government Communication Service, reviews all proposals for major public-sector communications campaigns to confirm that they represent industry best practice and value for money.
Ministers only meet government contractors once this process has been concluded and a winning bidder notified. M&C Saatchi were notified on 8 June. I subsequently met with the senior account planner from M&C Saatchi on 23 July as part of a regular ministerial apprenticeships ‘stocktake’ meeting. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State has not met with representatives of M&C Saatchi.