Birmingham City Council is set to spend a six-figure sum on hiring spin doctors to promote the city’s new library.
The council has put the contract out to tender for an outside firm to deliver public relations services for the new Library of Birmingham, which is expected to open in the summer of 2013.
The authority has placed an online advert for the contract with the Official Journal of the European Community (OJEU), which advises contracts for works, supplies and services from public sector organisations in all EU Member States.
The council was criticised last year after it was revealed public relations consultants hired for the launch of the new Library of Birmingham were paid £135,000 of taxpayers’ money.
City council boss Mike Whitby and his library development team snubbed their own press and marketing officials in favour of two PR firms.
Birmingham firm S & X Media and London-based Bolton and Quinn were hired to promote the unveiling of the proposed library designs in April, an exhibition of the designs and a consultation with the people of Birmingham.
But a council spokesman insisted that bringing in an external firm for the new contract “could be achieved in a cost-effective manner”.
The advert reads: “Birmingham City Council is looking to appoint a public relations specialist to deliver the next stages of the communications campaign through to the immediate post-opening period.
“Key objectives include opening up many of which are of international importance, and introducing a new approach to service delivery which will increase the power of the library to chance lives.”
The three-year contract, which has also been advertised on website finditinbirmingham.com, is due to start in January next year with an option to extend for a further 12 months.
The closing date for submissions is September 23, with interested firms expected to submit their bids by September 30.
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: “On a project by project basis the council will on occasion supplement its communications capabilities by contracting external suppliers with specialisms and capacity not present in-house.
“This is only done when it is deemed that the contractor will add tangible benefits to the project, and this can be achieved in a cost-effective manner.
“Contracts are only awarded following a rigorous procurement process.”