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Departmental Expenditure

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 19 July 2006, Official Report, column 470W, on departmental expenditure, what steps have been taken to reduce the amount of money spent on advertising; and what review mechanism has been put in place to assess the effectiveness of these steps. (91731)

Work is under way to implement the new policies and practices set out in the advertising review report published in April 2006:

The tender process for public notice and recruitment advertising placed in daily newspapers by government departments and their agencies is almost completed. Bids are being evaluated and the outcome will be announced in the next few weeks. Significant savings will result.

Central Procurement Directorate has switched to online procurement supported by limited ‘new-to-view’ advertising in order to reduce costs.

Central negotiations to strike a single government rate for campaign advertising with each of the main media organisations are almost complete. This is the first time this has been done on the basis of aggregated government spend. Substantial discounts off standard rates have been achieved across newspapers, television, radio and outdoor media. The rates will be available to all departments, their agencies and NDPBs.

An open competition has been run to establish a new Framework Contract for the procurement of advertising agency services. It sets a maximum commission level of 13.5 per cent. a reduction of 1.5 per cent. on the previous commission rate. There is an expectation that agencies will deliver discounts below this figure. The protocol for the operation of the Framework sets new standards for briefing agencies, setting targets and measuring effectiveness.

A new central Advertising Shared Service Centre will drive forward the value for money agenda to ensure advertising campaigns from across government are delivered within a strategic and budgetary framework.

The preparatory work is being governed by a cross-departmental Programme Board which meets regularly to monitor progress. Regular reports on effectiveness will be made to me.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent by (a) his Office, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies in respect of hotel and other similar privately-provided accommodation (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad for (A) Ministers, (B) staff and (C) other persons in each year since 2001-02. (91891)

We cannot provide the information in the format requested by the hon. Member as to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

All travel is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, Travel by Ministers and the Civil Service Management Code.

Information relating to overseas travel by Ministers is published on an annual basis. Information for the period 2 May 1997 to 31 March 2006 is available in the Library of the House. Information for the financial year 2006-07 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the current financial year.