I saw this story on the Guido Fawkes blog today. He is reporting yesterday’s session of the House of Lords Communications Committee which is currently looking into government comms. The interview with Sir Gus Oâ€™Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service, starts 58 minutes into this video. Committee chairman, Lord King, starts off by telling O’Donnell off for taking three month’s to respond to the committee’s request for information. Apparently a full submission was only received the previous night. That submission makes for excruciating reading and O’Donnell spends the rest of his time trying to defend the indefensible.
Number of comms staff doubled over 10 years from 1,628 to 3,158
Number of press officers up 73% over 10 years from 216 to 373
Bill for special advisors three times what Labour inherited
Even these horrifying numbers probably underestimate the true numbers. The Cabinet Office letter numbers Ministry of Defence comms people at 255. compare this to the 1,000 people involved in comms identified by the MoD themselves, see previous posting.