Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude announced today that the Central Office of Information (COI), the government’s marketing and communications division will close.
The decision follows a review, conducted by permanent secretary for government communication Matt Tee earlier this year, which recommendatied that COI be discontinued.
Among other criticisms of the COI, the review found it lagged industry standards in its use of digital communication channels. "Changing lifestyles and the proliferation of interactive technology have had a dramatic impact on the nature and practice of government direct communication today," it said. "Consideration of digital solutions should be built in from the start of programme activity."
It also said the COI failed to make sufficient use of the government’s existing assets such as the Directgov website.
However, the Cabinet Office has rejected the proposal for a new Government Communications Centre that handles marketing and communications for all departments. Instead, marketing and communications will now be handled by the Cabinet Office itself.
"These important and significant changes to Government communications structures are designed … to save more money by cutting bureaucracy and reducing duplication," Maude said today.