NEWS28 November 2011

COI cuts research spend by 65%

Government UK

UK— The Central Office of Information (COI), the UK government’s communications arm, cut its research spend by 65% last year to £9.5m, according to the latest annual accounts.

Its financial report, published last week, comes just four months before the COI closes its doors and its responsibilities for co-ordinating government communications activities are transferred to a 20-person team within the Cabinet Office.

COI employed 737 staff at the beginning of April 2010, the start of the latest reporting period. By the end of March 2011 this had been reduced to 450 – a 40% cut.

Research spend was reduced from £27.4m in the 2009/10 financial year at a rate that was broadly in line with total COI spend, down 68% to £168m.

Acting chief executives Emma Lochhead and Graham Hooper said: “Over the past 65 years, COI has helped to produce government communications and marketing campaigns which, as well as being highly effective, have become part of the UK’s collective consciousness.

“As the organisation approaches closure, now is the right time to pay tribute to our clients, who have given us the opportunity to do such good work; our suppliers, who have striven so hard on our behalf; and lastly COI staff, who have worked so tirelessly to pioneer best practice, innovation and cost effectiveness for the taxpayer in the way in which citizens have been informed, engaged and influenced about the issues that matter.”

COI will close on 31 March 2012.