Sorrell and Lane-Fox to advise Gov’t on marketing review

The Government has enlisted the help of industry experts, including WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell, Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham and Martha Lane-Fox, to help with its review of public sector marketing and communications.

Sir Martin Sorrell

The review, being carried out by Matt Tee, permanent Secretary for Government communications and COI chief executive Mark Lund, aims to identify how the Government can be more “innovative” and develop more effective and efficient communications.

Sorrell, Abraham and Lane-Fox, alongside No 10’s director of strategy Steve Hilton and Amanda MacKenzie, global marketing and insight director at Aviva, will meet in mid-January to provide their initial views.

Tee will submit his recommendations to Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, in February.

The industry leaders will meet again in late February to provide their views on the review’s findings.

Maude says: “The Government needs to be far more innovative in thinking about how it can best deliver incredibly important public information messages. We need to incorporate the latest ideas from initiatives such as the Ad-Council in the US and the latest thinking from experts such as our Behavioural Insight “nudge” Team.

“If we get this right we can save the taxpayer money and increase the effectiveness of our campaigns, which is why I’m so pleased we have this team of experts on-hand to help advise us.”

Tee adds that following a 50% cut in paid for direct communications, the Government must now develop a model to deliver “more for less” when the freeze on advertising and marketing spending is lifted at the end of the year.

The Government introduced a freeze on advertising and marketing activity in may 2010, which led to the COI cutting staff numbers by 40% last year.

The full list of industry leaders expected to contribute is:

  • Sir Martin Sorrell KCB – Chief executive, WPP
  • John Collington – Head of procurement, efficiency and reform group, cabinet Office
  • David Abraham – Chief executive, Channel 4
  • Jeremy Heywood – Permanent secretary, No. 10
  • Amanda MacKenzie – Global marketing and insight director, AVIVA
  • Steve Hilton – Director of strategy, No 10
  • Martha Lane-Fox – Government’s digital champion
  • Robin Wight – Chairman of Engine Group
  • Stephan Shakespeare -CEO of YOUGov
  • Sir Peter Gershon – Former civil servant and non-executive director of HM Treasury

The review will draw evidence from:

  • COI
  • Government departments
  • the advertising and marketing industry
  • commercial partners of Government such as supermarkets and financial service providers
  • media owners
  • former heads of COI and the Government Communication profession.

The full Terms of Reference for the review are available on the Cabinet Office Website at

Read Andrew Harrison’s column – Making a contribution in the age of cuts and compromise

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