Monday, July 23, 2007

Defending communications

In the Sunday Telegraph this weekend there was an article on a leaked memo about the Ministry of Defences press function. In particular, it talked about the 'large number of staff employed to improve the MoD's public image, and the high cost and there being no evidence as to whether or not the strategy is working'.

While the article extrapolates figures it estimates the salary bill for the department being about £39million a year. Is it reasonable to have a level of expense to the public of this magnitude without a rigorous form of checks and balances? The document sets out a strategy to target new media against traditional media without any indication of how this is to be monitored and evaluated.

The story leaves an uncomfortable sense as it portrays the MOD as 'spinning' a news managed smokescreen to deflect attention from the real issues of overseas troop deployment, equipment and cost.