Firms tilt for arrears tender

The Department of Finance is to spark a scramble among the country’s top PR firms for the prestigious contract to design and implement a national communications strategy on the Government’s plan to address mortgage arrears.

Firms tilt for arrears tender

In May, the Government introduced measures to deal with the mortgage arrears crisis that included an effective withdrawal of the veto wielded by the banks over any personal insolvency arrangements.

Figures show 104,693, or 13.8% of mortgage accounts for principal dwelling homes, were in arrears at the end of March.

The department states that the value of the contract will not exceed €90,000, excluding Vat. The tender states the Government is seeking to appoint an agency by the end of next month, with the campaign to be developed by September.

According to the department, the successful tenderer will be responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive communications strategy which will advise on the best source of information and advice.

The PR firm must also raise awareness with regard to the supports available to borrowers in arrears and who can assist with completion of the standard financial statement.

The successful firm will also be tasked with devising and creating practical information materials for key audiences to help deliver the campaign.

The firm will also co-ordinate with relevant stakeholders, including financial institutions, advocacy groups and consumer groups and provide regular evaluation reporting on the impact and success of the campaign to the Mortgage Arrears Steering Group.

The co-ordination of communications is from across a number of major government departments including: Finance; Public Expenditure and Reform; Taoiseach; Social Protection; Environment; Community and Local Government; Justice and Equality, as well as the Insolvency Service of Ireland; Citizen’s Information Board, Money Advice & Budgeting Service and Housing Agency.

Firms have until July 28 to lodge their tenders with the department. The tender documentation states: “There are a number of channels currently available within the Government system — including a number of key websites and some printed information materials.

"This campaign needs to rationalise the language used across government, clarifying the steps a distressed borrower needs to take to find solutions to their situation.”

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