Government PR spend rises amid ad decline

The Government's spend on PR and sponsorship is to rise for the fifth consecutive year, while its spend on ads, DM and other marketing techniques is to fall, according to projections.

The latest Central Office for Info­rmation (COI) figures reveal projected spend for the PR and sponsorship division for 2006/07 is £24.5m – up from 2005/06’s actual spend of £23.7m.

This contrasts with a cut in other spending – on ads, DM, broadcasting, publications, research and regional news service

The Government News Network – which brings the COI’s total projected spend to a four-year low of £309m. The figure was £321m in 2005/06.

‘This is a recognition of the development of the industry and particularly down to the fact that we are leading in some specialist PR areas, including advertising-funded programming and partnership marketing,’ said COI deputy head of PR and sponsorship Janice Collins.

PR spend through the COI was only £1m in 1997/08 – the first year of New Labour’s rule. The figure raised year-on-year except for 2001/02, which had a slight dip.

In the past five years, spend has doubled (PRWeek, 11 August 2006).

Not all government PR campaigns are run through the COI. Some departments manage their own agency rosters, including the Department of Health, the Department for Education and Skills, and the Department for Work and Pensions.

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