The Central Office of Information (COI) should be replaced with a centralised organisation called the Government Communication Centre, a review of government communications published today has suggested.
Outgoing permanent secretary for Government communication Matt Tee said in the report that some direct government communication had been ‘unrelated to an overall sense of government priorities’ and that a central approval process needed to be created.
The suggested reforms would see the number of employees working in government communications cut by about 1,000 people and could impact on the COI’s Live Events division, which has already lost half of its staff following a department-wide jobs cull last November.
However, COI director of live events Simon Hughes, said he was ‘broadly in support’ of the review: “I think a number of the suggestions are very much in line with the current political agenda and if we are aligning the way Whitehall works with the way major international corporates work – which has always been resisted, but the real world can teach us a thing or two – then it makes perfect sense.”
He added that live events were outside of the full remit of direct communications, which is primarily advertising. He said: “Live events don’t form part of the direct communication activity when you bring in a new legislation; you don’t need to have a major conference. However, it may be useful to have several seminars when putting that legislation together. That sort of activity is inevitable.”
The review will now be followed by a period of reflection before further announcements are made at the end of the month.
Pictured: COI director of live events Simon Hughes