Letter from Mr Mike Granatt CB, Head of
the Government Information Service (GI 4)
At my appearance before the Committee on Thursday
28th February I promised you further figures on the GICS.
You asked about numbers in the DTLR operation.
As of 28th February there were 63 GICS members in the Communication
Directorate of which 31 were working in the Press Office. There
are other non-GICS staff. These figures have been supplied by
DTLR and if you have any further detailed points they would be
best addressed to the department directly.
The figures that we have on the GICS which are
published in our annual report are compiled from individual members'
returns. This is done on a voluntary basis and so the figures
provide a "snapshot" view of the GICS at a particular
point in time. The picture is constantly changing as people move
jobs between departments and disciplines and in and out of the
Service. These figures do not reflect the total number of staff
working in communication directorates which are made up of a mixture
of GICS and policy staff.
You were particularly interested in turnover
rates. In 2000 42 people left and last year this reduced to 36.
I must stress that these are estimated figures. Unfortunately,
when people leave they often neglect to tell us and there is no
formal notification process from Departments.
On looking at the transcript of the subsequent
session I would like to take this opportunity to reinforce a couple
of aspects of my evidence.
Firstly, on the number of special advisers working
on media liaison and presentation; my estimate of about 40 was
just what I said it was - a guess. Some special advisers work
on policy areas; others advise on presentational strategy and
planning; some work directly with the media; some will do all
these. It would be wrong to infer from "my guess" that
half the special advisers are engaged full time in talking to
You will know that the Committee has received
a letter from Charlotte Morgan, a DTLR GICS member who is now
on secondment to Brussels. Charlotte has worked very hard to get
her current posting, which is an excellent development opportunity.
Yet despite her hard work her move has become linked in the media
to the events at DTLR. Unfortunately, this has been the case with
a number of our movers and leavers although to date it has generally
occurred at a more senior level.
Since 1997 people have moved for a variety of
reasons. We have always said that "personal chemistry"
was an issue in some cases but this is not peculiar to the Information
Service. Others simply retired and many moved onto better jobs.
To spell it out, at least half of the 19 moves
cited by some commentators as forced in some way were nothing
of the sort. Therefore, the inference that all such moves are
a result of a "breakdown" of some sort is a disservice
to many individuals and the GICS as a whole.