Charity demands £100m Brexit campaign to be 'accurate' and 'transparent'

Open letter cites 'mistakes' of 2016's Brexit communications.

Brexit: Full Fact has written open letter to government
Brexit: Full Fact has written open letter to government

Fact-checking charity Full Fact has written an open letter to the Government Communication Service demanding that it explains how its £100m "Prepare for Brexit" marketing blitz is "transparent, accurate and value for money".

Citing the "mistakes" of 2016's Leave and Remain campaigns, the letter acknowledges that communications can play a valuable role in helping UK consumers, but raises concerns among people "on all sides of Brexit arguments" that it "could be misused for political purposes, or have unintended political effects".

Full Fact argues that the ramifications could damage preparations and undermine trust in all government communications.

While details around the Engine-led campaign, news of which broke earlier this week, are still scarce, the letter demands to know:

  • The steps the Government Communication Service is taking to ensure "effective governance of the content of any Brexit communications campaign, including transparency, to avoid any inadvertent political effect that could breach the civil service code.
  • Measures being taken to fact-check the content of the campaign and "test it to ensure it does not inadvertently mislead audiences, and how have these been strengthened since the mistakes in 2016".
  • How the government is ensuring "value for money from this campaign, given the GCS's well-known commitment to value for money from, and rigorous evaluation of, all government communication and the scale of the suggested spend in a short time".

Will Moy, Full Fact's director, said: "When the government makes mistakes or misleads us, this harms everyone. It is therefore essential that the government explains publicly what steps it’s taking to ensure the reported £100m publicity campaign to prepare for no-deal Brexit will be accurate, transparent and not misused for political purposes.

"We all deserve to have the information we need to make informed decisions and the government has a responsibility to provide this."

A full version of the letter is available here.

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