Government to appoint marketing supremo

Permanent secretary of government communications will report directly to the Cabinet Office

The Government plans to appoint an overall marketing chief, in an effort to sell itself to the public as a credible institution in the run-up to the next General Election. The decision follows the resignation of Alastair Campbell as director of strategy and communications for Number 10.

The newly created position of permanent secretary of government communications will spearhead both marketing and communications functions for the Government and will report to the Cabinet Office. COI Communications chief executive Alan Bishop is expected to report to the permanent secretary.

The position is also expected to bring the Department for Transport closer to the COI, in terms of creating integrated campaigns. The DfT created its own agency roster last year, marking the first time that a department had set up a breakaway roster, outside the COI.

The new strategic role will also champion a “customer service ethos” across all Whitehall departments. According to a spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office, the creation of the role follows the recent Phillis Report, which recommended the separating of political posts from those relating to the Civil Service.

The report, which forms part of a five-yearly Cabinet Office review of the COI, also suggests that the COI needs to develop new performance measures to test campaigning and media-buying effectiveness.

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