Departmental Communications

Home Department written question – answered on 28th June 2004.

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Photo of Matthew Taylor Matthew Taylor Chair of the Parliamentary Party, Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff were employed in the Department to work in the communications field, and what the total expenditure on communications for the Department was, broken down by (a) Government Information and Communication Service staff and (b) other staff, broken down by (i) press officers, (ii) special advisors and (iii) others, in (A) 1994–95, (B) 1996–97, (C) 1997–98 and (D) 2001–02.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The requested information on Government Information and Communication Service staff including Press Officers and other staff, and the total expenditure for those employed to work in the Communication and Research, Development and Statistics Directorates is as set out in the following tables:

Communication Service staff, press officers and other staff
Communication Directorate (CD) RDSD CD and RDSD
Financial year GICS

(inc. press officers)

Press officers included in GICS total Other CD total RDSD total Total staff
1994–95 24 15 8 32 7 39
1996–97(1) 30 16 70 100 8 108
1997–98 23 13 65 88 9 97
2001–02 53 (3)35 100 (2)153 7 160

(1) Library and Internal Communications merged with the former Public Relations Branch to form the Communication Directorate.

(2) Direct Communications Unit, which includes the Customer Correspondence Service was formed during 2001–02.

(3) Expansion of the Home Office press office towards the end of 2000, followed an external consultant's review of its staffing and operation and recommended the creation of the Newsdesk so as to better meet the demands of the media. This improved efficiency from 'losing' in excess of 20 per cent. of the calls pre expansion, to a position where from June 2003 to June 2004, 91.8 per cent. of the 67,070 press calls received by the Newsdesk were answered. Added to which the Prison Service and Home Office press offices merged in May 2001

Total expenditure -- £
Financial year GICS

(inc. press officers)

Press officers (included in GICS total) Other CT total RDSD total Total cost
1997–95 508,800 318,000 169,600 678,400 980,000 1,658,400
1996–97 859,014 369,000 1,343,220 2,202,234 755,000 2,957,234
1997–98 929,568 332,000 1,726,340 2,655,908 668,000 3,323,908
2001–02 3,028,899 1,000,000 3,555,665 6,584,564 553,000 7,137,564

Details of expenditure on communications staff beyond these two directorates is not held centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

With regard to special advisers, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 22 March 2004, Hansard, column 529W. Details of special advisers are published annually for the Government as a whole.

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