I was wondering why so many public relations companies had recently signed up as subscribers to this blog. On Tuesday this week, the mystery was solved as the NTMA issued a tender for the provision of PR services. The three-year contract will cover all the many organisations which fall under the NTMA umbrella including the National Pensions Reserve Fund, the National Development Finance Agency, the State Claims Agency, and NewERA. But the principal organisation under the NTMA’s umbrella of interest on here is NAMA.
Earlier this year we learned from a parliamentary question from the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty that NAMA spent €135,948 on PR services in 2011, up from €63,032 in 2010. It would be a fair bet that the bill will have increased in 2012. Of course the overall size of the contract will be considerably more than this, when services to other NTMA organisations are included. You can totally ignore the report in the Irish Examiner today that €114m in fees have been paid to PR companies working for the NTMA in the past two years! I would guess the contract is worth at most about €250,000 a year for the provision of services to the NTMA, including NAMA.
The 21-page tender document is here. It is noteworthy that fees proposed by prospective applicants form just 20% of the marking used to award the contract. The most important attribute of applicants is the quality of the team with 45% of the marking. It is estimated that about 80 hours of service will be required each month. The closing date for submitting bids is 15th October, 2012.
Back in early 2010, NAMA’s management of information with the media seemed a bit like the Wild West with leaking happening on a large scale. However since current provider of PR services to the NTMA, Gordon MRM was appointed in 2010, the Agency’s dealings with the media have been transformed. The provenance of a couple of newspaper reports – notably the ones about NAMA covering its total lifetime operating costs already and Olivia Kelly’s social housing report – looked fey, but you would have to say over the past two years, NAMA’s release of information has overall been democratic and transparent.
Gordon MRM was founded by Ray Gordon in 2009, has a staff which includes former Sunday Business Post journalist David Clerkin, and provides media services to clients which include Permanent TSB, the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland and the Irish Stock Exchange. It was asked for a comment on the tender this morning, and if it would be pursuing a re-appointment but there was no response at time of writing.