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Government Departments: Public Relations

Volume 487: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) with reference to the answer of 17 November 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, column 166WA, on Government departments: public relations, for what reasons his Department’s communications staff were not used to mount the campaign to increase public awareness of the Mental Capacity Act; (248977)

(2) with reference to the answer to the right hon. Member for Devizes of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1670-71W, on departmental public relations, which external public relations consultancies received a portion of the £290,476 referred to; how much each received; and for what purpose the payment was made in each case;

(3) with reference to the answer to the right hon. Member for Devizes of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1670-1W, on departmental public relations, on which public relations consultancies the expenditure was incurred; how much was spent on each; and for what purpose.

The campaign to increase public awareness of the Mental Capacity Act was devised by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) with advice and professional support from Ministry of Justice’s Communications Directorate. The campaign was national in scope but needed to be targeted to reach particular people and organisations for which the Mental Capacity Act would have an impact and provide benefits. An external agency was used as the resource did not exist in the OPG, and the MOJ Communications Directorate could not dedicate sufficient resource to run such a campaign. Procuring an external agency to deliver the time-limited campaign also meant that the OPG did not have to hire extra staff and so exceed headcount limits.

The £290,476 referred to in the answer to the right hon. and learned Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram) in November 2008 is broken down as follows;

£

Four Communications and HBL Media

Human Rights campaign

45,728

Four Communications

City of London planning application

1,880

Amazon PR

Family Mediation helpline and Mental Capacity Act

58,400

Good Relations

CJS Speedy, Simple, Summary programme and Weekly media and public affairs reports

71,978

Leapfrog PR

Liverpool Community Justice Centre

29,616

Hopwood PR

Leicester Community Justice Centre

49,255

Red Consultancy

Community Sentencing

33,619