Companies to battle for NTMA’s PR contract

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is set to spark a major scramble among the country’s top public relations agencies as it puts its prestigious PR contract up for re-tender.

The NTMA — which controls the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) and the National Pension Reserve Fund — gifted PR firms €114m from Nama’s inception to January of this year.

That figure does not include the amount spent by Nama on public and media relations and Dublin- based firm, Gordon MRM won the NTMA PR contract in 2010 that is now coming to an end.

The contract also involves providing PR services to other agencies under the NTMA umbrella: the State Claims Agency; the National Development Finance Agency and the New Economy and Recovery Authority (NewERA).

According to the request for tender published by the NTMA yesterday, the new contract will be for a period of three years, subject to annual review and may be extended for a further two years at the NTMA’s discretion.

According to the tender documentation, the successful tenderer will be expected to understand and communicate complex financial issues and the NTMA’s strategy, approach and performance to a lay audience. Tenderers have been asked to submit a fixed monthly fee for the PR service and should assume an average of 80 hours per month, although the actual volume recorded in any given month may be higher or lower. The tender states: “In the event that the actual volume of hours worked persistently and significantly varies from this level, either party may request that the fixed fee be renegotiated.”

The “external press office” for the NTMA will work closely and provide support to the NTMA’s internal communications resources in managing media relations and implementing its communications strategy in an integrated manner.

Parties invited to tender have been asked to outline their views in no more than 1,500 words on the communications challenges faced by the NTMA taking account of the fact that the NTMA must balance commercial sensitivities with a high level of public and media interest in its work; the agency acts as an agent of the Minister for Finance through its debt management function and that the NTMA is a complex portfolio of public assets and liabilities, each with their own communications needs and constraints.

Yesterday, the NTMA declined to comment on its budget for its press office and communications service or whether it expects the tender to result in reduced costs at this stage in view of the current tender process.


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