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Departmental Public Relations

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 22 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many external contracts his Department has held with public relations companies since its inception; and what the total cost of those contracts was. (183190)

The information provided relates to both the Department for Children Schools and Families and the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills, which were formed following the Machinery of Government changes in June 2007. It is not possible to provide separate costs for each Department during 2007-08 except at disproportionate cost.

Both Departments employ public relations agencies for specific communications tasks, most commonly working alongside our press offices to provide campaign support in local, regional and specialist media companies. They have used such agencies for 15 campaigns at a cost of £1.085 million since June 2007. These figures include contracts placed by both Departments using a framework agreement and by the Central Office of Information (COI) on our behalf.