The North of Tyne Combined Authority has responded to criticism of a decision to award a branding and design contract to a firm from Manchester.
When the authority, made up of Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council and Newcastle City Council, held its launch meeting last year, it had produced various publicity materials to set out its vision and goals.
However, the news that it was produced by a Manchester-based agency, Creative Concern, recently sparked disbelief and anger on social media from those involved in the sector in the North East.
Critics questioned why a job for an authority which is supposed to promote investing in and backing the North of Tyne area went outside the region.
A spokesman for the combined authority said: “This piece of work was commissioned by North Tyneside Council on behalf of the three local authorities, but Newcastle City Council acted as the contracting authority and its Corporate Design and Creative Services Framework was used.
“The city council’s framework is OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) compliant and suppliers went through robust price and quality evaluation criteria to be awarded a place on it.
“Local firms are encouraged to be part of this framework, allowing them to regularly bid for local authority contracts. The framework has a variety of organisations both local and national who then compete for projects.
“There are currently 10 organisations approved on the relevant list for work of this nature. The majority of these, seven, are based in Newcastle, one is based in the wider North East and two are based outside the region. All companies on the framework have equal opportunity to bid for the work.”
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service