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Departmental Public Relations

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department (a) allocated for and (b) spent on public relations activities in each year since 2001; how much was spent on external consultants in each such year; what companies were contracted to provide such services in each such year; and how much he plans to spend on such activities in 2010. (315032)

The setting of detailed budgetary allocations is delegated to local budget holders. These allocations are revised constantly throughout the financial year to reflect changes in the Department's priorities. They are not therefore held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, information on the final budget where this is available is set out in the following table.

Expenditure on public relations activities (mainly recruitment for the armed forces) has been as follows:

£ million

2001-02

35.1

2002-03

52.5

2003-04

61.7

2004-05

79.3

2005-06

76.2

2006-07

43.0

2007-08

46.3

2008-09

155.2

1 Of an allocated budget of £56.7 million

A summary of the MOD's expenditure on external assistance has been placed annually in the Library of the House since 1995-96. The summary includes expenditure information provided by our trading funds that lie outside the MOD's accounting boundary. Budgetary information is not held. External assistance includes management consultancy, specialist lawyers, commercial bankers and IT expertise. Consultants help us to increase our efficiency and effectiveness but we employ them only when we cannot do the work ourselves and can demonstrate value for money.

A list of companies providing public relations services or external assistance is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, we do publish an annual list of those organisations the MOD pays £5 million or more to during the financial year. This information is in Chapter 1 (most recently in Table 1.17) of UK Defence Statistics, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. The current and historical editions are also available on the MOD's website at the following link:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index.php?page=66&pubType=1

This list includes those major contractors providing external assistance. Where public relations services are required, the MOD may also contract with companies included in the Public Relations Framework, a centralised procurement service run by the Central Office of Information.

We are reviewing the detail of final budgets for 2009-10 pending the presentation of the Spring Supplementary Estimates to Parliament later this month.

Detailed budgetary information for 2010-11 is not yet available as we are reviewing our detailed resource allocations for that year to take account of current priorities, commitments and budgetary pressures.