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Government Initiatives: Advertising

Volume 713: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty's Government which initiatives of the Ministry of Justice or its agencies (and its predecessors) have been advertised in each of the past five years; how much was spent in each case; and which were carried out via the Central Office of Information. [HL5334]

The Ministry of Justice was formed in May 2007 to take forward the work of the Department for Constitutional Affairs together with significant additional responsibilities transferring from the Home Office. These included the National Offender Management Service, which covers the Prison Service and probation service and the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. The figures below therefore relate to the Department for Constitutional Affairs where the financial years fall prior to 2007-08 and the Ministry of Justice on or after the 2007-08 year.

The nature of the Ministry of Justice's activities is such that it does not engage in significant levels of advertising on initiatives. More than 95 per cent of departmental advertising spend is on recruitment, mainly by human resources (HQ and NOMS). To provide information for individual recruitment advertising campaigns would incur disproportionate cost.

National Offender Management Service (NOMS)

NOMS, which has responsibility for the prison and probation systems, has spent the following non-recruitment-related amounts on advertising, external publicity and broadcasting. Amounts relating to specific advertising initiatives cannot be separately quantified.

Year

Advertising Expenditure (£'000s)

2004-05*

0

2005-06*

36

2006-07*

17

2007-08*

31

2008-09**

281

*The figure for 2008-09 is for NOMS HQ and HMPS but excludes the 42 local probation boards and trusts within NOMS as this information is held locally and could only be collated at disproportionate cost. The figures obtained for the financial years 2004-05 to 2007-08 are for HM Prison Service (HMPS) agency only. They exclude NOMS HQ (previously a directorate within the parent department, the Home Office) and the National Probation Service (NPS), which are now part of the NOMS agency.

** The 2008-09 figures are therefore not comparable to previous years. It would be disproportionate cost to obtain figures for both NOMS and the NPS for 2004-05 to 2007-08. Furthermore, it would incur disproportionate cost to investigate what advertising initiatives make up the figures in the above table.

The expenditure on recruitment for the NOMS agency in 2008-09 is £3,409,968, mainly on recruitment of prison officers. This figure may include other recruitment expenditure not considered to be publicity and advertising. Work to split out publicity and advertising spend from the total recruitment amount would incur disproportionate cost.

The stated figure for NOMS excludes expenditure by the 42 local probation boards and trusts whose records are held locally and could only be collated at disproportionate cost. A one-off exercise undertaken in 2007-08 found that expenditure on advertising and promotion by local probation boards and trusts was £58,264. There are no current plans to repeat this information-gathering exercise for 2008-09.

Headquarters and other agencies

For the rest of the department, the ministry's central accounting records do not distinguish different types of advertising expenditure. To determine what expenditure relates to requires retrieval and examination of individual invoices and records held locally across the organisation.

Advertising, publicity and communications expenditure over the last five years is set out below with some of the expenditure for advertising in recruitment. However, not all the expenditure on recruitment advertising is included since it is not separately quantifiable from the accounts. The Criminal Justice Group, which is part of the ministry's headquarters, was formed from various Home Office functions transferred to the ministry in April 2007. It is not possible to extract historical information for the Criminal Justice Group from the Home Office's records prior to 2008-09, meaning that the figures for headquarters below are not directly comparable between the financial years***.

Year

HQ* (£'000s)

HM Courts Service (£'000s)

Tribunals Service ('000s)

Office of the Public Guardian** (1000s)

2004-05

2,470

65

0

0

2005-06

4,023

1,049

0

0

2006-07

692

450

33

0

2007-08

610

270

127

14

2008-09

1,976

486

41

39

* For 2008-09 and 2007-08, headquarters relates to the Ministry of Justice. Prior to 2007-08, headquarters relates to the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

** The Office of the Public Guardian was established from 1 October 2007. Its predecessor body was the Public Guardianship Office.

Business groups have identified the expenditure on specific advertising initiatives detailed below. These figures have already been accounted for in the figures within the table above.

Democracy, Constitution and Law (DCL)

Total advertising expenditure for all years from 2004-05 to 2008-09 is £573,564 on the following initiatives:

Law Commission;

Information Commissioner's Office;

Elections and Democracy; and

Information Policy.

It would incur disproportionate cost to split the expenditure between the four categories.

Criminal Justice Group (CJG)

The two main advertising initiatives which are continuing are:

Victims Support; and

Intimidated Witness.

The advertising expenditure for these two initiatives is not separately identifiable from the rest of the publicity and advertising expenditure of the CJG and it would be at disproportionate cost to undertake this exercise.

Access to Justice

The vast majority of advertising expenditure was incurred by HM Courts Service (an agency of Access to Justice) for the Operation Payback initiative. The costs incurred are as follows:

2005-06: £252,000;

2006-07: £21,000 via the Central Office of Information; and

2007-08: £2,110.

Tribunals Service

2007-08: £204 was spent on the launch of the Welsh Language Scheme.

Central Office of Information

The ministry's accounting records identify all amounts paid to the Central Office of Information (COI). They do not, however, separately identify those amounts relating to advertising initiatives and it would be at disproportionate cost to investigate.

The Office of the Public Guardian has incurred no expenditure with the COI.