Government comms spend set for significant upswing

Cabinet Office pledges £285m annual comms spend to boost controversial reforms.

David Cameron's re-launched Government has pledged to significantly grow its comms spend this year as it prepares for a raft of key PR battles over controversial reforms.

In the week the Prime Minister announced a significant Cabinet reshuffle, the Government has for the first time revealed the full extent of its PR and marketing spending plans.

The Government budgets to spend £285m on comms during the financial year 2012-13, representing a near-70 per cent rise from £168m spent through the COI in 2010-11, the last recorded figures. 

The Cabinet Office argued the figures were not directly comparable as not all previous comms expenditure went through the COI, but it was unable to provide a total for previous government PR spend.

The figure also remains down on the £532m spent through the COI in 2009/10 under the previous government.

The release comes ahead of a range of contentious policy initiatives, including large-scale welfare and health reforms.

Former COI PR director Oliver Hickson said the increased PR spend reflected the 'major comms challenges' the Government faced, adding: 'There seems to be a tacit acknowledgement within the report about the effectiveness of behaviour change comms when measured properly.'

Key comms priorities listed within the 'proactive communications plan' include preparing claimants for major welfare reforms, further consultation over the High Speed 2 rail link, and promoting efforts to kick-start business with campaigns such as 'Business in You'.

Outgoing government comms tsar Jenny Grey told PRWeek: 'The narrative around government comms has often been around cuts, but this document is about stating the positive role comms has and empowering communicators.'

Grey is set to move on from the Cabinet Office later this month to join US banking giant Citigroup.

GOV'T COMMS HUBS

The £285m will be spent across seven 'hubs', each containing one to four government departments.

The hubs include areas such as 'growth and economy' - containing BIS, Treasury and DCMS; and 'public health' - the DH.

The most populated comms hub will be 'infrastructure, communities, environment and personal safety', containing 732 staff.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.