Secret MoD plan to shrink comms team and cut costs

Ministry of Defence chiefs have drawn up plans to overhaul the department's communications operation and make ten PR staff redundant.

Cost-cutting: The MoD is streamlining operations to save money
Cost-cutting: The MoD is streamlining operations to save money

PRWeek has seen a secret blueprint that outlines plans to shave £500,000 per year off the comms budget.

The document also reveals a number of problems with the current set-up, including a concern that much of the information passed to the press office by other departments is ‘not fit for purpose’.

The Government has ordered the MoD to save £50m on annual running costs. Senior MoD staff have responded by drawing up a bulky document entitled Streamlining, which reveals how the department intends to achieve the savings across the board.

Under the plans, some 1,200 military and civilian posts are to go from the MoD’s 4,365 staff at its central London HQ by next April. It is proposed that ten posts be scrapped in the 136-strong Directorate General Media and Communications (DGMC), which oversees the ministry’s press office and PR activities.  This will cut £499,614 off the DGMC’s annual £8,014,839 staffing costs.

The document also highlights the need ‘to improve the timeliness and quality of briefing information passed to the DGMC to avoid the repeated need to redraft information often to very short deadlines’.
Finally, the document notes some ‘key risks to delivery’.

It states: ‘Other business areas [of the MoD] do not always recognise the authority of DGMC, either in terms of priority given to communications work, or standard of written material provided. DGMC compensates for this by redrafting material not fit for purpose.’

An MoD spokeswoman said: ‘The MoD is streamlining its head office...  DGMC is not immune from this. But its streamlining target is much lower, acknowledging the demands of dealing with a 24/7 multimedia environment.’

Key aims of plan

  • To create a more efficient comms operation through better-defined roles and ‘headcount reduction
  • To improve working practices through ‘more joined-up, multi-disciplinary teams
  • To improve ‘timeliness and quality’ of briefing information passed to the press offic
  • To avoid ‘duplication of effort’ between different divisions of the MoD

 

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