According to a report in The Daily Mail, the COI is to award contracts worth £8m for “vanity marketing projects” including cakes, stress balls and Frisbees branded with name of Government departments.
The report follows the unveiling of a new framework for merchandising and communications agencies that will see the roster split into suppliers and manufacturers of promotional items. The framework is designed to offer “high quality and cost effective solutions” for the Government and public sector departments the COI services.
A spokeswoman for the COI claims the £8m will be spent over the four-year duration of the framework.
“COI does not order cupcakes. Our promotional items are practical everyday items that support government conferences and campaigns on important issues such as armed forces recruitment.”
Government spending on marketing and communications has come under attack from the Conservative Party, which has vowed to slash spending to 1997 levels if the party is elected next year.
The Government recently announced a 25% cut in marketing spend, which when combined with plans to halve consultancy bills, could save the Treasury £650m a year.
Savings will be made by streamlining the procurement of marketing and communication services, rationalising marketing frameworks across Government and aggregating more activity through the COI.