Public Sector: COI compiles 28-strong internal comms roster

The Government has drawn up its first internal comms roster amid plans for unprecedented civil service reform and the relocation of major chunks of Whitehall to the regions.

The Government's procurement agency, the Central Office of Information (COI), has drawn up a 28-strong agency roster as it considers how to implement recommendations into improving Whitehall efficiency.

The roster was compiled by the COI's Strategic Consultancy Unit and includes agencies including Hedron, Jack Morton Worldwide, The Forster Company and Harkness Kennett.

A report by Sir Michael Lyons, published a year ago, recommended relocating 20,000 civil service jobs from London and the South-East to cut costs, boost efficiency and to help to ease the pressure on the relatively overheated South-East economy.

The Department for Work and Pensions is moving more than 4,000 jobs, the Ministry of Defence is moving 3,900 jobs and the Department of Constitutional Affairs is to relocate more than 3,000 positions.

Other departments set to move staff include the Department of Health, the Home Office and the Department for Education and Skills.

In addition, the Treasury is also axing jobs in line with recommendations in a separate review, by Sir Peter Gershon, into efficiency.

The relocation, expected to take place by 2010, has generated an increasing need for internal comms across central government, said COI deputy director of PR Janice O'Reilly.

COI director of consultancy Andrew Wade said: 'The communications challenge is more complex than ever so we can no longer look for "one-size-fits-all" solutions delivered by the large consultancy firms.'

The COI relied on the ad hoc use of internal comms consultants before the creation of the roster, which took four months to compile, and will be reviewed in 2008, O'Reilly added.

Feature, p27.

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