Report attacks Govt’s ’wasteful’ ad strategy

Civil servants have warned that the Government’s advertising campaigns are often a shambles and waste taxpayers’ money because of poor planning and co-ordination.

Civil servants have warned that the Government’s advertising

campaigns are often a shambles and waste taxpayers’ money because of

poor planning and co-ordination.



The criticism by those working on Whitehall publicity campaigns is

revealed in a report by Mike Granatt, the head of the Government

Information and Communications Service.



He said a survey of officials had found that ’they are often brought in

too late to achieve effective planning and maximum value for money’.



He admitted: ’It is also apparent that many departments take a

fragmented approach to commissioning and producing publicity

material.’



Granatt said the central publicity branches in departments ’often find

it impossible to know who is producing what. That defeats co-ordination

within departments, let alone across government.’



The survey found that many publicity staff complained they were squeezed

out of campaigns until a late stage by policy officials who ’base their

arguments on their own personal views of what they would like to see,

rather than on proper analysis of the target audience’.



This echoes criticism by bosses at the Central Office of Information

that they are kept at ’arm’s length’ by departments who jealously guard

their pet campaigns.



Another ’representative comment’ in the survey was: ’Schedules have been

changed so often that we have frequently produced material at breakneck

speed, only to find the heat goes out of the project at the last

moment.’



Other publicity staff complained about ’indecision’ by policy

officials.



One civil servant admitted his department did not always carry out

checks to ensure campaigns were not party political or a waste of money.

He said that although the department’s Permanent Secretary should

approve all campaign spending, ’in practice this does not always

happen’.



The document will fuel Tory criticisms of the Government’s spending on

advertising, which increased by 35 per cent to pounds 80 million in the

current financial year.



Big-spending campaigns included the New Deal ads from St Luke’s and TBWA

GGT Simons Palmer’s single currency work.



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