Government increase PR spending

by Andrew Tweedie, Calum Liddle and Michael Behr.


Scottish Government spending on PR increased by 10% during the recession, new information has revealed.

The report was gained through a Freedom of Information request which showed that the government spending on PR was £704 086 during April 2008 –  March 2009.   This was an increase of £64 033 compared to the 2007-2008 period, where PR spending was £640 053.

Scott Douglas, director of media consultancy firm Holyrood Partnership, said the way the government chooses PR companies was to blame for the increase in spending. 

“Take one stout jute sack. Insert half a dozen hungry ferrets. Add a scrawny chicken that thinks it’s the most succulent bird on two legs. Hit with a big stick. Ta da! You’ve got the Scottish Government’s PR Roster system,” he said on his company blog.

“Words fail me on just how awful and flawed the whole process is. There’s nothing wrong with trying to squeeze the best possible value out of contractors – but this system does nothing for value, nothing for Scottish agencies and, I suspect, delivers little in the way of real value to the taxpayer.”

The Scottish Government responded to this by pointing out that PR Spending during 2006 – 2007 was £1 022 814 and the latest figures represent a 30% decrease. 

A Scottish Government representative said; “The Scottish Government spend on PR has increased between 2008 and 2009 to reflect the changing nature of the Scottish populations media consumption. Marketing has long since moved away from big budget mass advertising campaigns to focus on a more strategic and targeted approaches of which PR plays a key part.”