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COI to be replaced by Government Communications Centre

The Government has been advised to replace the COI, its 65-year-old ad body, with a Government Communications Centre, as part of sweeping changes to the structure of public sector marketing.

COI: advertising body is set to be replaced

COI: advertising body is set to be replaced

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Outgoing permanent secretary Matt Tee has recommended scrapping the Central Office of Information (COI) today (18 March) in favour of a centralised unit composed of government marketers from the department.

The plan outlined in the report will see around 1,000 jobs slashed, a reduction which will save an estimated £50m per year.

There will not, however, be a US Ad Council as the report concluded this was not "workable, nor desirable".

But a "common good communications council" of agencies, media owners and voluntary organisations has been mooted.

The report said: "There is significant potential to ask agencies, media owners, government and voluntary and community organisations to work together for free or near free on campaigns for the common good."

Payment by results, a move unpopular with agencies, has also been proposed by Tee.

Additionally, three people will be appointed with "experience of and high credibility in the communications industries’ to form a new ‘Government Communication Oversight Panel'".

Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: "I am grateful to Matt for the work that has gone into this report. I will discuss the recommendations with ministerial colleagues and the government will publish a full response in due course."

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