COI report shows increase in PR costs

The Central Office of Information’s (COI) spend on PR is marginally up, despite an overall slump across its advertising and marketing budgets.

The Government procurement service’s annual report, released last week, showed its spend on PR is up £1m on last year, taking the total within the discipline to £7m.

Overall, the COI’s total activity showed a reduction of £9m to £258m, which includes a £2m slump in advertising.

COI corporate PR manager Janice O’Reilly said: ‘It shows that we understand the value of using PR as part of the campaign mix.’ However, she denied the rise indicated that Government departments were turning to the cheaper option of PR.

These latest figures cover PR work procured for departments as well as campaigns handled by the COI itself, such as its promotion of fire safety for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and a campaign to aid RAF recruitment for the Ministry of Defence.

In addition to the release of its accounts, the COI has also announced a truce with the Department of Transport, which broke away last year to set up its own advertising roster.

Under the deal the DoT returns to the fold on the advertising side, and a client council has been set up to cover all Government marcoms activity and ‘ensure that COI services mesh closely with clients’ needs’, according to Cabinet Office minister Douglas Alexander.

COI head Alan Bishop said that a review ‘of our systems’ will also take place, but this would not affect its PR roster.

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