TfL in U-turn over pitch for Congestion Charge

Transport for London has confirmed that it is to begin a new and

separate procurement exercise for an agency to look after its coveted

Congestion Charge account.



This new pitch will be handled by the corporate team, headed by Charlie

Edelman, the general manager of marketing communications and corporate

design. After the pitch, Edelman will leave to go travelling.



The team has been tasked to produce a fresh brief with a new and strong

focus on integrating the Congestion Charge publicity with TfL's other

advertising activity. The Congestion Charge is a key strand of London

mayor Ken Livingstone's plans to improve transport.



The news comes after TfL's decision to "unappoint" M&C Saatchi from the

£9 million, three-year congestion account. The agency had been

appointed without a pitch. M&C Saatchi will retain the corporate

contract business.



In a press statement, TfL said the "Congestion Charging contract is to

be separate from the corporate contract as Congestion Charging is a

large and detailed project in its own right".



The stance is a turnaround from TfL's decision to group the corporate

and congestion accounts together. M&C won the pitch for TfL's corporate

account and was controversially handed the congestion brief before other

shortlisted agencies had pitched.



A TfL spokesperson explained the U-turn: "The decision was taken because

we believed at the time that it would be better for the two to be rolled

into one pitch, for best-value reasons. Having looked at it again we

realised that the brief wasn't detailed enough and it was necessary to

separate the two tasks."



The pitch has been beset by problems from its early stages. TfL sent

letters to the wrong agencies, resulting in some agencies being informed

that they had made the shortlist only to be later told that they

hadn't.



Agencies had also suspected that TfL would lump the corporate and

congestion accounts together, but were assured that this would not

happen.



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