Government set to scrap COI

The Government has been advised to replace the Central Office of Information (COI), the body responsible for staging events, in favour of a more centralised unit.

COI director of live events Simon Hughes
COI director of live events Simon Hughes

Outgoing permanent secretary Matt Tee has recommended doing away with the 65-year-old organisation in a report into Government Direct Communication and the role of COI issued today (18 March).

The plan outlined in the report calls for a more ‘strategic approach’ that would see the number of employees working in communications cut by about 1,000 people, saving £50m per year in staff costs.

If approved, the Government’s marketing activity will be concentrated in fewer areas of focus and to targeted audiences.

COI director of live events Simon Hughes told Event: "After what we have been through over the past year we are very sanguine about it."

"It is a very comprehensive and far-reaching report, so there is nothing specific we can relate to events at this stage. There will be a further period of reflection for the Government to look at and discuss the report before they respond with a consensus that is clear for everybody."

"There has been a ruthless focus on value for money and efficiency recently, so in that sense it was inevitable."

The COI slashed 287 jobs as part of a major Government marketing cutback in August last year.

Agencies including The Live Group, Sledge and Smyle count themselves among the COI’s preferred partners for live events.

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