COI unveils ten step plan to make ads accountable

The Central Office of Information (COI) is proposing to streamline its process for assessing the return on investment of public sector campaigns at a time when the level of government spending on communications is under fire.

COI aims to boost the financial effectiveness and efficiency of campaigns by introducing a series of universal definitions and a ten-step process to help government marketers determine the financial benefit of their activities.

A COI spokesman says there are inconsistencies in the methodology and approach to evaluation, adding “there should be at least common and, at best, universal, practice across government”.

“Done well, analysis of these measures can be used to not only better demonstrate the role of communication in helping deliver successful policy objectives, but also the real value to the taxpayer,” he adds.

The Conservative Party attacked the level of COI spending in June after it was revealed that investment in marketing and communications increased 43% year on year to £540m in 2008/09.

The Tories have vowed to cut spending if the party wins the next election, while some observers suggest the Government could review COI spending.

COI chief executive Mark Lund says: “At a time of great pressure on public finances it is right to look closely at how communicators measure the benefits of what they achieve for what cost.”

The spokesman says the document, which was developed with DDB’s Les Binet and Sarah Carter, will become “the definitive guide” for public sector marketers.

The proposals are subject to consultation and the deadline for comments to COI is 6 January.

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