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PLANS FOR CENTRAL OFFICE OF INFORMATION

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The government intends to retain the Central Office of Information as a Next Steps Executive Agency and will be app...
The government intends to retain the Central Office of Information as a Next Steps Executive Agency and will be appointing advisers with the aim of maximising the value that it adds to the procurement of publicity by government, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Roger Freeman has announced.

He told the Commons: 'I have asked the chief executive to make proposals for improving the efficiency of the agency, with the aim of maximising the value that it adds to the procurement of publicity by government.

'The outcome should be to streamline COI so as to concentrate on the procurement of services for customer departments, rather than the direct provision of services.

'The proposals, which will draw on assistance from consultants, will take full account of the views of customer departments, and the availability of alternative means of obtaining the services provided by COI.

'As a first stage, I have decided that from 1 January 1996 the presumption that departments should use COI for advertisement procurement should cease, and departments will be free to make alternative arrangements direct with the industry if they so wish.

'I recognise these changes will result in some reduction in the number of staff employed by COI, which is currently about 470. But I am convinced that a more sharply focussed COI will nbe better able to provide a service to departments which will both meet the needs of government departments and secure the best interests of the taxpayer.'

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