NEWS14 October 2010

Future of COI still ‘under consideration’ says UK government

Government UK

UK— The Central Office of Information (COI), the UK government’s marketing arm, escaped today’s “bonfire of the quangos” – the mass cull of arm’s-length government-funded bodies – but its future is still under consideration.

Over 190 quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations are set to close while 118 will be merged as part of the coalition government’s attempts to reduce government expenditure by £83bn by 2014-15.

Some 380 quangos will be retained, according to a list published today, but the status of the COI is listed as “under consideration pending a review of government advertising to be finalised by the end of November”.

The government has had a freeze on marketing and advertising spend since June which has saved it millions, but the reduction in work being managed by the COI has prompted the organisation to look to reduce its headcount by 40%.

Nearly 290 jobs are set to go following a three-month consultation period, which ends this month.

In a statement today, COI chief Mark Lund said: “The government communications landscape is going through a period of significant change… We are involved in ongoing discussions between the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the wider Government Communications Network to agree a model which helps deliver maximum efficiencies and effectiveness for government communications.”

Research spend by the COI fell 7% to £27.4m in the last financial year.