Government Communications - Communications Committee Contents


We questioned the heads of communications at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Health about the costs of their departments' communications operations and received supplementary written information from them. Their responses can be summarised as follows.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The cost of the FCO press office in London, which has a total of 30 staff, is £11.5 million. There are a further 70 staff in London employed directly on communications-related activity (for example website work, events, publications). There are also about 390 staff engaged on communications work in UK missions overseas. The total budget for which the Strategic Communications Director has managerial responsibility is £497 million, but this includes the FCO's funding of the BBC World Service, the British Council, Wilton Park and scholarship programmes.

Ministry of Defence

The Directorate General of Media and Communications in MoD has 184 staff and a budget of £15.6 million in 2007/08 (up from £14.9 million in 2006/07). There are a further 157 staff in the MoD (but outside DGMC) whose primary work is communications. This includes staff in the Meteorological Office, the Estates Organisation and the Equipment and Support Organisation. MoD estimates the expenditure associated with these other staff at about a further £15 million, though this does not include direct manpower costs.

The three armed services also have staff engaged in communications work (for example public relations officers in regiments and on ships) and make use of PR agencies. The main PR expenditure in 2007/08 by the armed services on nationally organised campaigns and events, including recruitment campaigns, was over £44 million. Of this, the largest expenditure was by the Army, at £24.3 million.

Department of Health

DoH has 122 staff engaged in communications work, of whom 30 are press officers. The total budget for the communications division of DoH in 2007/08 was £52.2 million. This was made up of an administrative budget of £7.1 million covering the cost of the 122 staff and their day-to-day operations, and £45.1 million of programme costs.

In 2008/09 the total budget allocation rose to £107 million. The administrative budget rose by 7 per cent to £7.6 million, while the programme costs more than doubled to £99.6 million. The main reasons for the large increase in the programme costs were the launch of a major campaign on obesity and a significant increase in expenditure on tobacco control.

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