Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has announced a review of the Central Office of Information (COI) and the coordination of cross-department marketing and communications.
The review will be carried out by Matt Tee, Permanent Secretary for Government Communications.
Working with COI’s Chief Executive Mark Lund, Mr Tee will consider COI’s role, funding, organisational status and governance. He will also look at the most effective organisation of cross-departmental coordination and leadership on strategic marketing and communication issues.
The review follows the freeze on marketing and advertising, which has seen government spending in this area fall dramatically, and the recent restructuring of COI and government communications, which has led to significant reductions in staff numbers.
Mr Tee will deliver his recommendations to Mr Maude in January 2011. He has indicated that having seen through this review and the transition to new arrangements, he will leave the Cabinet Office at the end of March to seek new challenges.
Prime Minister David Cameron said Mr Tee was “playing an important role in helping build a new structure for government communications”.
Mr Maude also welcomed the announcement:
This government has worked hard to cut down on unsustainably high spending on communications. The next step is to ensure that COI is well placed to respond to the needs of the future. It has been a genuine pleasure working with Matt, and his professionalism, experience and judgement will be missed in the Cabinet Office and across government.
Mr Tee praised civil service communicators for their “professionalism and impartiality” during the transition to the new government. He added:
I am proud to have led government communications through a time of major change as the civil service made the successful transition to a new coalition government. We have also significantly reduced expenditure on advertising and marketing, paved the way for a new era of government transparency and introduced a major shift towards digital as the default channel for government information and services. Throughout these changes, the professionalism and impartiality that civil service communicators have shown has impressed the new government.
Mr Tee is also responsible for digital engagement and has supported Martha Lane Fox’s review of DirectGov.