THURSDAY 20 SEP 2012 10:47 AM


Despite previous budget cuts to communications, the government plans to increase its efforts in the wake of public animosity and anticipation of the election season.

A new addition to government communications is the Whitehall PR plan, detailing seven main hubs covering several core government departments. In its plan, the government insists that every penny is scrupulously considered, and that effectiveness and value for money is at the top of its agenda.

The official government comms budget for 2012-13 stands at £285m. John Owens, in writing for PR Week says this is a 70% increase on spending from 2011-12. The cabinet has queried the findings, claiming that the two figures are not comparable, mainly owing to the Central Office of Information being scrapped in the government's Quango bonfire.

Nevertheless, there are indications that Whitehall is increasing its spending on PR, with private comms firms experiencing an increase in demand from the government. The budget suggests an increase; however, spending on comms in 2012-13 is still dwarfed by its peak in 2008-09.

The plan stresses that the media environment is changing, and as such, the government needs to modernise the way it interacts with people, citing social marketing campaigns on public health issues as an effective example.

The government's urgency to push through controversial policies such as free schools could indicate a rise in spending on private comms firms, of whom the government feel possesses the specialisation required to effectively communicate their plans.


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