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Departmental Information Officers

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in her Department and its agencies have the status of (a) embedded communicators or (b) are members of the Government Communications Network but are not listed in the Central Office of Information White Book. (315596)

The DWP's communications professionals include press office, internal and stakeholder communication, and digital media. They work right across the breadth of the Department's responsibilities and also provide services for Jobcentre Plus and the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service and Directgov.

The work includes communicating with staff, the public, business and stakeholders on the help and support available, eligibility for entitlements, pensions, additional help and support as well as the detailed work on pension reform. The Directgov website provides extensive help and information on the public services available to citizens across national and local government.

From a total of 119,625 members of staff, DWP has 155 embedded communications staff outside of its central communications function. From 1 April 2010 that will reduce to 119, the majority working for Directgov which is the Government website for public services in the UK. Others work on internal communications in central Directorates and delivery businesses. Staffing figures are provided as Staff in Post figures rather than whole time equivalents as to do otherwise would incur disproportionate cost.

Government Communications Network (GCN) membership data are not held by individual departments. Therefore accurate information cannot be produced without incurring disproportionate cost.