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ISBA/IPA launch new client/agency framework contracts

09 June 2015

ISBA and the IPA are this week launching two new flexible framework contract templates designed as a starting point to help clients and agencies formalise their relationships in an era where services are converging and relationships becoming more multi-functional and complex.

ISBA and the IPA are this week launching two new flexible framework contract templates designed as a starting point to help clients and agencies formalise their relationships in an era where services are converging and relationships becoming more multi-functional and complex.

The fast evolving marcoms landscape needs flexible terms to deal with the reality of today’s client/agency relationships which are often multi-disciplined. There is also a parallel trend of clients shifting to working on more of a project base with agency partners.  The two new contracts, have been drafted by Lewis Silkin, better reflect these new and ever evolving relationships. 

Debbie Morrison Director Consultancy and Best Practice, ISBA said:

“Having been involved in the development of the first set of contracts in ‘98 these new terms are the most flexible, robust and comprehensive contracts we have created to date. They truly reflect the way clients and agencies now work together across multiple communications platforms.

“It’s been hard work to get these out, but we have had a great deal of help along the way with many advertisers and agencies sense checking our approach as things have developed. The great thing is that these terms have also been designed to flex and evolve as the comms market continues to change at pace. We hope they will help revolutionise the way client/agency contracts are put in place.”

Richard Lindsay, Director of Legal & Public Affairs, IPA said:

“The old IPA/ISBA standard form contracts have served a useful purpose and, although they are still used occasionally, are out of date now. When we began this updating project by looking at the old terms, we realised that, to help agencies and clients document their arrangements more efficiently and more accurately, we needed not only to update the drafting of the documents but to re-structure them too.  We hope that providing a choice of a project based and a retainer based document, each with scope to add new services throughout the life of the contract, we will give agencies and their clients enough flexibility to be able to document their arrangements reasonably quickly and without having to agree new legal terms and conditions each time they want to run a new project.”

Jo Farmer, partner in the Media, Brands and Technology, Lewis Silkin said:

“We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work with ISBA and the IPA on the new framework contract for client/agency appointments. We now have an industry template which recognises the wide variety of marketing services that clients want from agencies - including social media, app development, experiential and of course traditional creative services.   Having template terms that are robust yet flexible and which recognise the dynamic marcomms landscape should go a long way towards providing clarity and consistency for everyone.”



Notes to Editors:

1) Formal commercial contracts are the essential backbone to any client/agency relationship and ISBA and the IPA have been setting the standard since 1998 when they jointly developed, with the law firm Lewis Silkin, model terms for creative agency services at a time when many client/agency relationships started, and ended, without a contract ever being signed, often leading to disputes over issues such as notice periods and ownership of intellectual property rights.

2) The Retainer Plus and Project plus templates are multifunctional and allow a greater degree of flexibility than previous model terms, which tended to be vertical in nature, confined to just one discipline.

3) The new terms offer a framework front end and allow clients and agencies to pick and choose from a schedule of services:

  • Creative on and offline, including content development
  • Social media services
  • Public relations,
  • Simple software/website/app development
  • Below the line/experiential

4) Both the Retainer plus and Project plus agreements allow for additional projects to be developed as the need arises, without having to re-negotiate new terms.  

5) The new framework agreements are available to ISBA and IPA members only.

Press contact

Hicham Felter

ISBA - The Voice of British Advertisers

Communications Manager


T: 020 7291 9020

M: 07901 528 980


About ISBA – the Voice of British Advertisers

ISBA ( / @isbasays) is the only body focused solely on the interests of advertisers in the UK. With over 450 advertisers in membership representing in excess of £10bn spend on marketing communications, ISBA protects its members’ freedom to advertise responsibly and maximise their effectiveness in deploying their marketing spend.

ISBA is the advertiser member of the UK Advertising Association, and advertisers representative on CAP and BCAP the UK advertising code owning body. We are also active members of the International Chamber of Commerce Advertising and Marketing Commission, and members of the WFA based in Brussels.

About the IPA

The IPA ( / @ipa_updates) is the professional body for advertising, media and marketing communications agencies based in the United Kingdom. Established in 1917 as a not-for-profit membership body, its role is to inspire, promote, anticipate and serve its community of the brightest and best 20,000 people in the business. For all the 305 agency brands in the 231 trading companies in membership it provides core support services, including legal advice via its Legal Department, headed by Richard Lindsay. It also acts as the agency industry spokesman and undertakes a wide ranging programme of awards, events, and training opportunities.

About Lewis Silkin

Lewis Silkin LLP ( / @LewisSilkin) is a 61-partner commercial law firm based in London, Oxford, Cardiff and Hong Kong. The firm has particular expertise in Media, Brands & Technology; Employment, Reward & Immigration; Corporate & Commercial; Real Estate & Regeneration; and Litigation & Dispute Resolution.

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