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Department of Health adds agencies in PR roster overhaul

LONDON - The Department of Health has overhauled its PR roster adding more agencies and dividing it into specialist areas for the first time.

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Newly created sectors of the roster will cover consumer and stakeholder work, internal communications, social marketing as well as broadcast.

Among newcomers to the roster are Blue Rubicon, Markettiers 4DC and Freud, which have all been given places in the broadcast section, and Grayling, which has won a place on the consumer and stakeholder list.

This is the first overhaul of the roster since its creation four years ago. Most of the original nine-strong line-up, including Fishburn Hedges, Harrison Cowley and the Forster Company have retained their places as incumbents. Those who have lost out include Geronimo Communications and QBO Bell Pottinger.

The first piece of business agencies in the consumer and stakeholder section will compete for is a campaign to support the introduction of smoke-free legislation next summer. The campaign is expected to be budgeted at between £700,000 and £900,000.

A DoH spokesperson said: "The department's PR requirements have changed, and this review has enabled us to redefine what we need."

The review also comes during a period of belt-tightening for the department, which is seeking to cut budgets amid an annual overspend of £800m that was revealed earlier this year.

The spokesperson added: "We feel the new list of agencies gives us the strength and breadth of service for our diverse requirement and also offers improved value for money."

This latest roster will be in place for the next two years with an option to extend individual contracts.

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