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Departmental Information Officers

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department of (a) press officers and (b) other press office staff has been in each year since 1997. (283064)

Currently, there are 110 press officers employed across the Department, as recorded in the Central Office of Information’s White Book, of which 35 are within the central MOD Media and Communications unit or Regional Defence Press Officer Network. Additionally, there are five press office support staff.

The total includes civilian and military staff working across the Department (including within single services) and are defined as those who directly interface with national or regional media on news issues, and in direct support of operations.

The cost for the 35 press officers and five support staff employed by the central organisation based on capitation rates for 2009-10 is approximately £2.2 million, which includes some £115,000 for the press office support staff.

Press officer costs in other areas of the Department and historical records, since 1997, are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.