Civil servants have warned that the Government’s advertising
campaigns are often a shambles and waste taxpayers’ money because of
poor planning and co-ordination.
The criticism by those working on Whitehall publicity campaigns is
revealed in a report by Mike Granatt, the head of the Government
Information and Communications Service.
He said a survey of officials had found that ’they are often brought in
too late to achieve effective planning and maximum value for money’.
He admitted: ’It is also apparent that many departments take a
fragmented approach to commissioning and producing publicity
Granatt said the central publicity branches in departments ’often find
it impossible to know who is producing what. That defeats co-ordination
within departments, let alone across government.’
The survey found that many publicity staff complained they were squeezed
out of campaigns until a late stage by policy officials who ’base their
arguments on their own personal views of what they would like to see,
rather than on proper analysis of the target audience’.
This echoes criticism by bosses at the Central Office of Information
that they are kept at ’arm’s length’ by departments who jealously guard
their pet campaigns.
Another ’representative comment’ in the survey was: ’Schedules have been
changed so often that we have frequently produced material at breakneck
speed, only to find the heat goes out of the project at the last
Other publicity staff complained about ’indecision’ by policy
One civil servant admitted his department did not always carry out
checks to ensure campaigns were not party political or a waste of money.
He said that although the department’s Permanent Secretary should
approve all campaign spending, ’in practice this does not always
The document will fuel Tory criticisms of the Government’s spending on
advertising, which increased by 35 per cent to pounds 80 million in the
current financial year.
Big-spending campaigns included the New Deal ads from St Luke’s and TBWA
GGT Simons Palmer’s single currency work.