COI suffers from Government cutbacks

Venues for hire may find less opportunities from previously lucrative central government contracts, as the Central Office of Information (COI) has announced cutbacks in both spend and its own workforce.

Events Magazine reports that the COI is to reduce its workforce by 287 positions over the next year as a result of cuts to funding and a change in strategy from government ministries and spending decisions. This follows an estimated 52% reduction in the total turnover on advertising and marketing from the COI, which was formerly the single largest source of advertising and marketing spend in the UK.

Following these cuts, the COI is to reduce its staffing levels from 737 to 450. A 90 day consultation is to take place for the staff involved in the redundancy plan, beginning the 3rd of August.

This is not necessarily bad news for event venues as largely criticism of the COI has focused upon its spending of departmental budgets on advertising campaigns and digital activity, rather than the booking of venues for hire for corporate and public events. It is also likely that the events industry will see an increase in the number of privately contracted exhibitions and conferences as the government seeks to outsource many public departments, as well as the expected opportunities offered to any conference venue in London by the 2012 Olympics.

“[The] COI has always adapted to meet the requirements of government and the changing media landscape,” said COI chief executive Mark Lund. “A leaner COI is in line with new government priorities.”

“Our future will be grounded in continuing to deliver excellent communications to achieve government aims, in the most cost efficient and effective way possible.”