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COI publishes annual report and accounts 2008/09

COI publishes annual report and accounts 2008/09

News Release issued by the Government News Network on 20 July 2009

The Central Office of Information (COI) has published its annual report and accounts for 2008/9.

The report reveals that COI secured record savings for the government departments and public sector bodies it serves. Its centralised buying position meant it was able to negotiate a 49.9% reduction in media costs against recognised industry benchmarks, a saving of £241m. This is in addition to the £50m savings made across a range of other services such as publications, direct marketing and events.

The report shows that government departments and public sector bodies spent a total of £540m on marketing and communications through COI during 2008/9, up 43% on the previous year.

Expenditure on advertising accounted for £211m of this total, an increase of 35%. But, as a proportion of COI’s overall turnover, advertising spend continues to decline.

The increases have been driven by departments taking greater advantage of COI’s centralised buying position and expertise, and the growing need for government to effectively communicate important information to the public. During 2008/09, there were campaigns tackling issues such as obesity, smoking, road safety and climate change.

The figures also highlight that government is continuing to follow audiences online as digital marketing expenditure rose 84% to £40m.

However, virtually all areas displayed growth from events and direct marketing to research and PR demonstrating that government uses all methods of communication to get important messages across to the public. This also reflects the changing role of COI in providing more services centrally and the increasing challenge of engaging with the public in a complex media landscape.

Mark Lund, COI’s Chief Executive, commented:

“The need for government to communicate with the public is greater than ever as society faces challenges such as obesity, climate change and the recession. Government campaigns can help save lives and save money. Smoking rates and road deaths are now the lowest on record. The online tax returns campaign generated savings of £547m.

“Changing behaviour is difficult, but the benefits to the taxpayer and society can repay the investment many times over.”

Notes to editors

* The annual report is available to download at: coi.gov.uk/documents/coi-annualreport2008-9.pdf

* COI is the Government’s centre of marketing and communications excellence. It helps government departments and the public sector meet their policy objectives through procurement and delivery of marketing and communications services that achieve maximum effectiveness and best value for money.

* COI does not have its own budget. COI works for numerous government departments and agencies, and its figures reflect their combined spend through COI.

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