Whitehall expects wide-ranging cuts

Even those government departments supposed to be ring-fenced face deep cuts to their comms budgets, according to Whitehall insiders.

Downing Street: cuts to budgets
Downing Street: cuts to budgets

One senior government source told PRWeek the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Department of Health (DH) will be expected to make comms cuts.

The source said: 'I would understand those discussions will be going on in all departments. I'd be very surprised if there is anyone who doesn't get a cut in budget. Only the budgets of those departments (DfID and DH) are protected in terms of the spending review, but in those departments they want to make reductions.'

The news comes after Chancellor George Osborne announced on Monday that he would soon set out details of the £6bn in spending cuts to be made this year.

Insiders also say Prime Minister David Cameron's administration has expressed particular interest in the Government's ongoing work around evaluation, particularly return on marketing investment.

There has been little internal discussion yet as to how the Central Office of Information (COI) will be handled. But one agency head with close COI links revealed it is expecting a 'flood of briefs' to be hitting the agency world now the purdah period is over.

As reported on prweek.com/uk (14 May) the first post-election meeting of comms directors took place on 13 May, in which the Government's drive to make cuts was discussed.

The meeting held by permanent secretary for government communications Matt Tee was attended by most Whitehall comms chiefs. It was understood to be too early for any definitive figures to be placed on cuts to comms budgets.

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