Fisher faces new threat to break up COI

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.

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

sector.



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

accounting.



Fisher is believed to have asked her new Whitehall masters for breathing

space before any decision is taken on the COI’s regional offices.



Newsmaker, p10.



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