Speaking at the CIPR AGM on 15 June, permanent secretary for government communications Matt Tee told public sector PR practitioners: 'Brace yourselves. The outlook for public sector PR is going to be challenging. We PR practitioners have to up our game.'
Tee also called for more benchmarking, measurement and evaluation. Following Tees' bleak rallying cry, it has emerged the COI is considering a wave of redundancies.
A COI spokesperson said: 'The COI is adapting accordingly to changes in the volume of advertising and marketing work. We are currently looking at the future shape of the organisation and how we reduce our size to ensure the COI remains efficient and effective.'
The COI would not reveal when redundancies would be announced, but one source suggested the decision would be made within weeks.
On 4 June the Government called for an immediate freeze on almost all new advertising and marketing activities during 2010-11 and the COI is said to be coming to terms with the fact it will need to scale down its 698-strong operation.
The COI's revenues are expected to drop by at least 50 per cent.
Also on 4 June, a memo sent to all PR agencies revealed that, with certain exceptions, PR activities must be cancelled. Major campaigns such as Freuds' Change4Life and National Year of Music accounts are hanging in the balance.
Separately, director for digital engagement Andrew Stott has been handed responsibility for the Government's transparency agenda.