A shake-up of the Central Office of Information has been ordered by
its chief executive, Carol Fisher, in an attempt to provide better
strategic advice to government departments.
Fisher will head a strategic consultancy division, with a brief to give
Whitehall impartial advice on the best media mix for its campaigns. A
client services division will also be set up.
In the first major change since Fisher took over as the COI’s boss in
January, the government publicity body is to recruit about 25 extra
staff - partly to cope with an increase in work following Labour’s
decision to boost Whitehall’s adspend to more than pounds 100 million a
year. It marks the first expansion for several years at the COI, which
has seen its staff cut by a third to 325.
Fisher said: ’People accept the COI buys well. We now have to show we
can add value to that. If people ring up our advertising division, they
will be told to spend their money on advertising; it would be the same
with direct marketing.
’But that would not necessarily be the right solution. We might say,
’don’t spend money on TV advertising, what you need is a website’.’
Fisher said the new division would provide ’objective and disinterested
advice’. She added: ’We are looking for a more holistic approach to get
the best all-round, cost-effective communications.’
However, Fisher said the COI was ’not trying to be McKinsey’, and might
call in outside consultants for specific projects.
The COI is also advertising for 18 marketers in a campaign by FCA!. It
eschews traditional civil service recruitment ads and highlights the
idea that government work can save lives.