Greater London Authority comms cuts reversed

Sharp comms cuts at the Greater London Authority have been reversed after Mayor Boris Johnson increased London's profile during the Olympic Games, PRWeek can reveal.

Praised: Johnson received widespread Olympic Games acclaim
Praised: Johnson received widespread Olympic Games acclaim

Figures unearthed as part of PRWeek’s ‘State of the Public Sector’ series revealed that spending in PR is expected to double this year to £120,000.

The news comes as the city and Johnson were both roundly praised for their role in a Games that drew the attention of the world’s media.

The rise follows on from cuts in PR spend that saw budgets fall from nearly £247,000 in 2007-08 to £62,000 last year.

A spokeswoman for the GLA said the trend reflected the fact that much of the spending was on media monitoring, with the service outsourced in 2010 to Precise amid a drive to ‘make considerable savings’.

‘When the Mayor was elected, it was his priority to create a more efficient GLA, which delivered better value for money for London taxpayers,’ she added.

The figures revealed that PR spending fitted within a wider trend that saw overall comms and marketing drop from £581,000 in 2007-08 to £267,000, before going up to a predicted  £356,000 for 2012-13.

Staffing numbers have also increased across the in-house comms team in the past year, from 23 to 27, with the marketing team doubled from four to eight.

However, the slash in ad spend has continued, with a budget of more than £1m in 2007-08 down to a predicted £65,000 for 2012/13.

It has also been revealed that former director of comms Guto Harri, who left to join News International in May, was paid £128,000 in his GLA role.

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