FRONT PAGE: Bank of England's £3m PR bill

The Bank of England will spend £3.15m on PR and comms over the next year, PRWeek can reveal.

Bank of England comms head Jenny Scott
Bank of England comms head Jenny Scott

As concerns over the British economy deepen, the bank plans to spend £1m on its seven-strong press office, £315,000 on its seven-strong public enquiries team and £315,000 on its website.
Meanwhile, a substantial £945,000 will be spent on the Bank of England Museum on Threadneedle Street and other elements of the bank's educational programme.

The news follows the ­rec­ent announcement that BBC Daily Politics presenter Jenny Scott has been ­appointed as director of comms at the bank. The £3.15m spend is revealed in documents obtained by PRWeek under the Freedom of Information Act. By comparison, the Department of Health will spend £1.86m on all of its PR support and campaigns in the next year.

The PR spend is sure to raise eyebrows among the public. TaxPayers' Alliance campaign director Mark Wallace said: ‘The bank must be very careful not to take its eye off the ball by focusing on its public image management and its museum.'

But PRCA director general Francis Ingham said the bank was right to invest in PR. He said: ‘Poor communication risks wiping millions off the stock market, damaging an already fragile housing market or causing the sort of general panic we saw with Northern Rock last summer.'

Secretary of the bank and chief press officer Andrew Wardlow justified inclusion of a museum within its PR budget, saying: ‘It's part of our public understanding programme, which is part of public relations.'

The Bank of England ­employs 31 comms staff. This week's news is the first in a series of PRWeek stories on public sector PR spend.

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