One minister said: "COI has adopted more modern techniques in recent years, but we think there is scope to go further. We want to make sure it moves more fully into the YouTube and MySpace era."
They also want to speed up plans to move recruitment advertising from press to online, after a pilot scheme revealed savings of up to 80 per cent.
Although some press ads will continue, they will be smaller and refer people to government websites. Ministers say the change will apply to senior but not junior posts, because not everyone has access to the internet.
Aides to Brown insist any changes are aimed at improving the efficiency of Whitehall, not to make it more propagandist. Officials have been kept in the dark about details of the changes. "We don't know what to expect," one said.