The GREAT Britain campaign, which has a significant PR element, was launched in February 2012 with £113.5m of funding that has been allocated by the Cabinet Office to five partner organisations. These are UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), British Council, VisitBritain and VisitEngland, for the 2012-15 period.
Currently the campaign is set to generate a return of £1.2bn to the UK economy, against a target of £1.7bn to £1.9bn by 2019-20. There has been £68m worth of private sector funding for the campaign to date.
A report on the campaign by the NAO has found that partners’ delivery of the campaign "varies" with not all using GREAT campaign branding materials. The report also found that the Cabinet Office does not adequately assess how the partner organisations spend the funding allocated to them.
The NAO also suggested that UKTI and FCO could push their teams further to demonstrate value for money on their campaign activities.
Despite this the report found that based on performance so far, the financial targets for individual partners are realistic within the next five years.
Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP chief executive who chairs the GREAT private sector board, said: "The GREAT Britain campaign is a tremendously important initiative and one that I think has been very effective, [but is] not resourced enough in terms of spending. It is probably the best example that I've come across of an integrated campaign for a Government and a country across the world.
"I'm very proud to be a part of it, a small part of it, and to chair the private sector board that looks after the GREAT campaign. I really hope that the Government continues it at an enhanced level."
A Government spokesperson said: "This is the most ambitious government campaign ever and showcases the very best of the UK. This report is very welcome and shows that guaranteeing value for money for the taxpayer is mission critical to government communications. We will carefully consider the report’s recommendations as we continue to use the GREAT brand to boost the country’s prosperity."