Quentin Letts, in his Daily Mail column last Saturday, claimed that the Department today employs 45 press office staff, compared to a figure of 38 in 2007.
The Mail’s report was based on a recent Parliamentary Question answer by Bob Neill which provided details of press office staff employed between June 2007 and May 2010 - before the Coalition Government took office.
The full version of this answer, which can be found on Hansard, makes clear that the staff numbers and salary costs attributed to the Department’s ‘press office’ include staff members working on campaigns and marketing, news planning and speech-writing as well as frontline press office duties.
Today (September 2011), there are 19 full-time press officers working in the Department’s press office.
In addition, the Department’s external communications division currently employs one full-time and one part-time member of staff working on marketing and campaigns activity, one full-time speechwriter and two part-time news planners.
Since January 2011 alone, 13 members of external communications division staff have left the department. One member of staff has joined the division from another part of the department.
No other new members of staff have joined the external communications division since March 2010.