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Press Releases

Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many press releases his Department has issued in the last 12 months; (287967)

(2) how many press officers his Department employs.

Between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2009 the Ministry of Justice press office issued 183 press notices. These were sent to national, regional and international media and highlighted the work and policies of the Department. Writing and issuing press notices is a small part of a press officer's job which also includes elements such as providing a round-the-clock service to global media outlets, arranging and attending media facilities with Ministers, arranging media interviews and media monitoring.

As at 31 August 2009, the Ministry of Justice employed 40 press officers. This includes a press officer on maternity leave. Staffing levels in the Ministry's Communications Directorate now more adequately reflect the high level of media interest in the work of the Department, and the need to meet the high demands of a 24/7 media. It is right that the public know and understand the work of the MOJ and its agencies and how taxpayers' money is being spent. Communications, including the work of the press office, is an important element of this.