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COI reviews market research roster

LONDON - The Central Office of Information is reviewing its roster of market research agencies, which bid for government and public sector work worth more than £22m a year.

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The current roster was established in 2005 for use over a maximum of four years and includes BRMB International, Harris Interactive, Ipsos UK, Millward Brown UK, Synovate and TNS.

The roster allows agencies to compete for government and public sector work without having to go through a lengthy procurement process for every contract.

A new EU directive requires that all suppliers on a roster "capable of performing the proposed contract" are invited to compete for each piece of business.

The new roster will be divided into "lots and labels" to provide easy access shortlists for competition.

The lots comprise: qualitative research; quantitative research; omnibus; deliberative engagement and desk research.

Agencies will be selected on the basis of their proven success in the specialisms identified by the lots and labels.

Criteria will include proven technical expertise, creativity, quality of thinking, provision of actionable insight, demonstration of expertise in specialisms/audiences, membership of professional bodies, track record, financial soundness and other organisational information related to procurement requirements.

Fiona Wood, director of research, who is leading the review, said: "The new framework calls for a broad range of agencies that offer a wide range of expertise from desk research, qualitative and quantitative methodologies through to deliberative approaches.

"This is a dynamic market that has changed significantly in the past four years. This framework provides a competitive stage for all agencies that can demonstrate high-quality thinking, and creative solutions for research involving the diverse audiences that make up the UK today."

The roster review is expected to be complete by April 1 2009.

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