Government campaigns under threat

Government marketing campaigns could be cut as part of Number 10’s plans to slash spending on marketing by a quarter.

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The Government this week unveiled a series of measures aimed at reducing the budget deficit. It hopes to save £12bn over four years.

Marketing spend will be cut by 25%, the Government says, which when combined with plans to half consultancy bills, could save the Treasury £650m a year.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office says savings will be made by streamlining the procurement of marketing and communication services as well as “rationalising marketing frameworks” across Government. He adds further savings will be made by “funnelling” more activity through the Central Office of Information (COI).

He says it will be up to each government department to decide whether campaigns will be cut, but that this “can’t be ruled out”.

Government spending on marketing has come under attack as the national debt increases. COI spending was lambasted by The Conservative Party 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 promised to cut spending if the party wins the next election.

COI chief executive Mark Lund says it is already “working hard” internally and with the Cabinet Office “to develop the best tools and approaches to drive both efficiency and effectiveness”, adding it “always strives to maximise return on investment for all government marketing activity, ultimately saving the taxpayer money”.

The COI recently proposed the adoption of a common approach to measuring the financial benefit of public sector marketing campaigns in an effort to increase accountability. It is also reviewing its estimated £211m media buying roster with a view to appointing one agency.

Other cost-cutting measures announced include the abolition of 123 quangos and plans to move more Government services online.

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