Now Government will reveal where the ad budgets go

Further evidence that the government is serious about cutting advertising spending emerges with its decision to release a detailed breakdown of all government advertising spending over the past two years.

The Treasury has an online database of all-departmental spending called Combined On-line Information System, or Coins, and this has codes for more than 1700 public bodies, including the COI.

So we will be able to see exactly what the money has been spent on, ranging from pure information to the kind of government propaganda that ministers and their policy acolytes love to pour out to show that they are doing a good job. Incidentally the last government refused to release this information.

It won’t have the colour and bite of the MPs’ expenses data but there should be quite a few interesting not to say bizarre items buried among the run-of the mill stuff.

Furthermore there will also be a central website detailing all government contracts over £10.000, items of central government spending over £25,000 and local government spending over £500.

With all this data available for interest groups, campaigners and just plain nerds to pore over, it’s likely to work as a brake on government marketing expenditure simply because politicians and officials know they’ll have to be able to justify it.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.