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Eventia urges Government to build on support for events in the UK

Eventia, the voice for the events industry and member of the BVEP, has welcomed the Prime Ministers support for the Britain for Events campaign, but cautions that the on-going uncertainty over the future procurement of live events in the public sector needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency.

Rob Allen, Chairman of Eventia, said “In his recent letter to Nick de Bois, the Prime Minister quite rightly identifies that we are world leaders in the creative and entertainment industries and applauds the work and efforts of the Parliamentary Group for Events.  Yet with the closure of 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.  Bearing in mind the enormous effort and resources required to secure a place on the COI Events, Exhibitions and Technical Services Framework, the lack of detailed information to date about how the new commissioning system will work is shocking.”

Allen cited a letter sent to all the COI framework suppliers as evidence of the lack of clarity. It included the following:

‘A new procurement category team will be created in Government Procurement Service to ensure that the communications spend and activity is well coordinated and executed, and existing COI frameworks will be transferred to the category team.

Over time, and as frameworks expire, the team will develop a new set of contracts. Suppliers will be informed of new trading arrangements for essential government marketing and advertising as they are put in place. We hope you will participate in the new contracts and help us deliver truly effective government communications in the future.’

Allen commented, “The notion that a newly created category team will be able to re-create the in-depth industry knowledge and expertise that COI have developed across so many key communication disciplines is hard to believe.  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.”

“This lack of clarity not only impacts on our production agency membership, but extends across the supply chain, from logistics services, venues and technical suppliers.  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 5 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.”

Eventia will be seeking support from other trade associations and bodies working in the marketing communications sector to ascertain if they share these concerns.  “We’re not against change” concluded Allen, “but we want to make sure that our member’s interests are best served when devising new ways of working.”

The Vice-Chair of Eventia, Simon Hughes, who is also currently Director of Live Events at COI, commented, “Obviously my colleagues at COI have been working hard to help the new procurement category team develop a system that works for the benefit of the many suppliers in the creative industries that have invested considerable time and effort in securing places on our frameworks.  The vast majority of the event companies on our framework are SMEs who are the kind of innovative organisations that drive growth and enterprise.  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.”

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