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Ministerial Secretariat And Communication Directorate

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total (a) cost and (b) staffing of the (i) Ministerial Secretariat and (ii) Communication Directorate was in each year since 1990–91; what the purpose of each is; and if he will make a statement. [99808]

The purpose of the Ministerial Secretariat is both to support Ministers and the permanent secretary in their parliamentary and departmental work and the Department in working effectively with Ministers and private office to achieve the Home Office aims. Figures for the Secretariat are:

YearStaff numbersCosts
1996–97723,279,782
1997–98623,340,790
1998–99793,833,174
1999–2000793,754,063
2000–017914,116,973
2001–02914,877,233
2002–0310125,089,014
1 Costs have increased following the addition of two new Ministers and their private offices together with other re-organisation of staff between private office and the rest of the Department.
2 Estimated figures for year end.
The purpose of the Communication Directorate is to take a strategic overview of Home Office communication activity. This involves setting and facilitating delivery of strategic objectives through effective long-term planning, co-ordination and evaluation. Figures for the Communication Directorate are:
YearStaff numbersCommunication Directorate costsPublicity costs
1996–971003,713,1928,386,880
1997–98884,102,9431,291,676
1998–991013,960,185288,174
1999–2000905,580,80611,451,496
2000–011177,699,62036,185,911
2001–021539,242,71222,928,899
2002–03226.59,086,614'17,000,000
1 Estimated figures for year end.
The publicity costs comprise major campaigns on police recruitment, crime reduction and until June 2001 electoral registration and fire safety.These staffing figures include press office where numbers have risen following an externally led review of the structure and operation of the press office in 1999. One of the benefits has been that media calls to the press office are being answered within four rings 90 per cent. of the time. Previously there were occasions when up to 40 per cent. of media calls were lost.Details of costs prior to 1996 are not held centrally and could be collated only at disproportionate cost.