Carol Fisher, the new chief executive at the Central Office of
Information, has been plunged into an immediate power struggle with her
Whitehall bosses over a plan to break up the organisation.
Fisher, who started work this week, is resisting moves by the Cabinet
Office to seize control of the COI’s network of 11 regional offices,
which promote the Government’s policies round the country.
COI chiefs claim the plan would ’dismantle’ the Government’s publicity
body and lead to its media buying being handled entirely by the private
Senior Whitehall officials believe the COI’s regional outposts could
play a more effective role in getting over the Government’s message if
they were run by the Cabinet Office, which works with Downing Street at
the heart of the Government machine.
But COI bosses are putting forward the case that the shake-up would cost
pounds 5 million a year, since their London headquarters absorbs the
cost of the regional network and handles its administration and
Fisher is believed to have asked her new Whitehall masters for breathing
space before any decision is taken on the COI’s regional offices.