Government Communications - Communications Committee Contents



1.  One of the most important tasks of government is to provide clear, truthful and factual information to citizens. The accurate and impartial communication of information about government polices, activities and services is critical to the democratic process. Government communications embrace two separate but complementary areas of activity—Government communication with the media, and Government communication directly with the public.

2.  In recent years, governments have had to re-assess how they approach the media and the public because of changes in expectations and demands from both these groups. New technology has led to an ever-larger media with a 24-hour appetite to feed, and has also made it considerably easier to communicate directly with the public, which in turn has changed public expectations about access to information.

3.  One result has been that the size and cost of Government communications have grown considerably in recent years. This growth means that it is more important than ever to scrutinise this area and ensure that it is effective and delivering value for money.

4.  The last external review of Government communications took place in 2003-04 and was conducted by Sir Robert Phillis, then Chief Executive of the Guardian Media Group. Since that review, there have been some significant changes to the structure and focus of Government communications.

5.  At the beginning of this inquiry, we called for evidence on whether the reforms since Sir Robert's Review have resulted in a more effective system of communications. The purpose of this report is to consider what progress has been made since the Review and to make recommendations for further improvements in specific areas.

6.  The membership of the Committee is set out at Appendix 1. We received valuable written and oral evidence from the witnesses listed at Appendix 2.

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