The Government's PR agency roster is to come under scrutiny as part of a full-scale review of the Central Office of Information.
Cabinet Office minister Ian McCartney announced in Parliament last week that the five-yearly review will take place as soon as possible.
McCartney said options to be considered by inspectors could include scrapping the COI altogether, having departments procure agencies themselves or increase the agency's role in choosing PR companies to carry out work.
COI spokesman Ian Luxford stressed that the 26 agencies on the roster will not be reviewed. That review is due to take place in 2003.
However, those agencies currently on the roster may be affected by the inspectors' findings, which are due to be released in the autumn.
The review also affects around 400 staff who carry out in-house PR work for government departments from London offices and ten regional bases, as well as securing agency work.
McCartney said inspectors will take into account, 'the performance of the agency and the views of its customers, suppliers and staff'.
The review will be carried out by a Cabinet Office team, headed by Peter Wardle director of the Cabinet Office's corporate services group.