I wish to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 concerning Ipsa's relationship with Apex Communications, specifically:
(a) the dates of the commencement and ending of the contract between Ipsa and Apex Communications;
(b) how many other companies (not necessarily the names of such companies) were shortlisted and considered for granting of the contract;
(c) if the contract to provide Ipsa with external communications advice was advertised, and if so, in which publications and on which dates;
(d) any details of the interview and recruitment process used by Ipsa to identify the successful contractor; and
(e) what arrangements are currently in place between Ipsa and any external communications or public relations companies.
I can confirm that IPSA holds the information that falls within the description specified in your request.
Our responses to your questions are based upon the information we have available. Answering each of your requests in turn:
(a) The dates of the commencement and ending of the contract between IPSA and Apex Communications.
Apex Communications was awarded the contract in October 2009. IPSA’s contract with Apex ended in July 2010. Apex provided communications advice to IPSA while the in-house communications team was being recruited.
(b) How many other companies (not necessarily the names of such companies) were shortlisted and considered for granting of the contract?
Two other companies were shortlisted and interviewed for the contract.
(c) If the contract to provide IPSA with external communications advice was advertised, and if so, in which publications and on which dates?
In September 2009, IPSA’s implementation team identified, researched and approached three corporate communication agencies with an invitation to tender for a contract to provide communications support to IPSA. In view of this work, the tender was not advertised more widely – and nor was there any good procurement rationale for doing so.
(d) Any details of the interview and recruitment process used by IPSA to identify the successful contractor?
At the recruitment stage, the three companies bidding for the contract had to prepare and deliver a presentation and they were interviewed by senior managers.
(e) What arrangements are currently in place between IPSA and any external communications or public relations companies?
IPSA does not have a contract with any public relations or communications company.
Having reviewed a previous FOI request in which you asked for the value of the contract with Apex, I am revising our previous response and confirm that Apex was paid £69,375 for the work conducted between October 2009 and July 2010. Apex provided advice on external communications, including on communications with MPs, the press and the public during the period in which IPSA did not have its in-house communications team in place.