The Home Office is looking to consolidate its £14 million communications planning activity into one agency.
However, contrary to reports of a rift between the Home Office and COI, the process is being handled through the latter, using agencies from its strategic media planning roster.
COI has invited Manning Gottlieb OMD and Mediaedge:cia, the two agencies which handle the bulk of the Home Office's planning, to pitch against one other agency for the consolidated business. Pitches take place this week.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are looking to appoint a communications planning agency to work across all campaigns. We have previously used agencies on different briefs, but we are streamlining things."
Peter Buchanan, the deputy chief executive of COI, said there was no dispute between the Home Office and COI, and that it is comfortable with offering government clients the option of appointing a single planning agency from its roster as an alternative to project-by-project pitching.
He added: "It is true that the Home Office wants to appoint one communications agency for the business. That is being organised through COI, and the approach is exactly the same as in other agency appointments and is being handled in the normal way."
Recent work through the Home Office includes crime prevention campaigns focusing on cars and mobile phones, as well as ones addressing both fire and internet safety.