BMP DDB, the Labour party’s agency, is to lose its status as the
Department of Social Security’s lead shop under a shake-up ordered by
While BMP will continue with its existing anti-fraud drive, it will have
to pitch against other shops early next year for two upcoming
multi-million pound campaigns - one promoting the Government’s New Deal
for single mothers, and the other explaining its proposed ’stakeholder
pension’ for people not in company schemes.
Harriet Harman, the social security secretary, has told her officials
she wants a fresh approach to her department’s communications. Future ad
campaigns will be put out to tender rather than awarded to BMP as the
DSS’s retained agency.
Whitehall sources insisted the change was no reflection on BMP’s
performance and indicated the agency was likely to be shortlisted for
the forthcoming campaigns.
’There has been a change of government and there is a new programme so
it is a good time to have a fresh eye on things,’ one insider said. ’In
future, we will look at campaigns individually.’
The plan to encourage lone parents back to work is one of Harman’s top
priorities, and the high-profile campaign will enjoy a large budget
financed from the pounds 200 million allocated to the New Deal.
This initiative, under which single mothers living on state benefits are
invited to an interview with their own DSS personal adviser, is being
piloted in eight areas and goes nationwide next year.
Privately, bosses at BMP have been resigned to changes at the DSS for
some time because the agency has held the business for more than five
years, when government accounts are normally reviewed.
The agency has been expecting a review for the last two years, and will
continue to pitch for tasks as they come up. BMP recently created a
controversial campaign inviting the public to inform the DSS of
fraudulent activity by telephoning a special hotline number.