Leading figures from the advertising world are to brief officials at the
Central Office of Information on how to be more ‘client-friendly’.
The lunchtime training workshops for COI staff are part of the
organisation’s plans to prevent Whitehall departments breaking away from
the COI to run their own campaigns and to help it win new business from
other public-sector bodies.
The sessions will start next month with an address by Michael Hockney, a
former managing director of Butterfield Day Devito Hockney.
Peter Buchanan, the COI’s director of advertising, said: ‘We want our
people to be aware of the highest account-handling standards in
agencies. The aim is to take their best practices and develop them for
‘The way we approach our clients should be to the same standard as the
agencies. Sometimes we meet that standard, sometimes we don’t. It is
important to try to bring the level up a little bit.’
The move is in line with a Government-ordered report on the COI’s future
by the management consultant, Kinsley Lord. It proposed big changes to
enable the organisation to survive.
The report, accepted by ministers, advised that the COI should
reposition itself as a ‘marketing consultant’ to offer a more integrated
service to Whitehall departments. This is expected to result in the
merger of the COI’s advertising division, which handles campaigns
totalling pounds 60 million a year, and its direct marketing division,
which has a turnover of about pounds 11 million.
Kinsley Lord recommended the COI be streamlined by cutting out
unnecessary paperwork and reducing staff. Whitehall sources believe that
up to 100 of the COI’s 470 jobs could be axed.
The consultant also fired a broadside at the COI’s top brass, saying its
management board had become too distant from its clients.
A shake-up to make COI bosses more ‘hands on’ is expected after the
appointment of a new chief executive to succeed Mike Devereau, who is
retiring (Campaign, 17 May). The Government is advertising the post at a
salary of pounds 75,000 and is thought to be keen to attract someone
from the private sector.