Eventia demands more clarity over government events

Eventia's chairman Rob Allen
Eventia's chairman Rob Allen

Industry association Eventia has said that uncertainty over the future procurement of live events in the public sector needs to be tackled urgently.

Eventia chairman, Rob Allen, welcomed the Prime Minister’s support for the Britain for Events campaign, but said the lack of detail surrounding a new commissioning system for government events is "shocking".

"With the closure of the Central Office of Information (COI) next March, many of our agency members remain very unclear about the new arrangements that are being put in place for the future procurement needs of government events," he said.

Allen cited a letter sent to all the COI framework suppliers, which states that a new procurement category team will be created to oversee the procurement of government events.

Said Allen: "With dozens of award winning campaigns for effectiveness delivered by COI in the past, it is going to be challenging for any new arrangement to deliver the same quality in more cost effective ways unless the government engages with the sector as a matter of urgency."

Allen said the apparent lack of clarity will have an impact on Eventia’s production agency membership, and across the supply chain.  

"Many of our members have done well to adapt to massive reductions in spend from the public sector over the last 18 months. With less than five months left before COI disappears, we’d all like to see some truly effective government communications that will allow all of us in the creative communication industries to plan for the new working methods effectively and efficiently," he said

Eventia vice-chair Simon Hughes, who is also director of live events at COI, said his COI colleagues have been working hard to help the new procurement category team develop a system that works for suppliers in the creative industries. 

"The vast majority of the event companies on our framework are SMEs who are the kind of innovative organisations that drive growth and enterprise," he said. "We need to ensure that they and the broader creative industries community are actively engaged in developing new ways of working that match the Prime Minister’s view of the importance of this sector to our future recovery." 

Eventia is now seeking support from other trade associations and bodies working in the marketing communications sector.  

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