States spend £1.8m on PR and advertising, new figures show

The States of Guernsey spent £1.8m on PR and advertising over 22 months, figures released to the BBC show.

The sum, covering January 2013 to October 2014, included money spent on in-house staff, third party companies and advertising agencies.

Some residents said this was a "waste of money" and the States would need to "measure its effectiveness".

Deputy Heidi Soulsby said when it comes to advertising "we've got to think in a modern way - this is the digital age".

Ms Soulsby said currently States accounts do not show what is spent on advertising and promotion.

She said the States hoped to produce a set of accounts that were "more meaningful and transparent".

'Digital age'

The figures, from an access to public information request, showed in-house staff costs came to just over £397,000 for the time period.

The cost of third party public relation companies was just over £300,000 with two thirds going to tourism marketing spend and other promotional work.

The total cost for advertising was just over £1.1million, which includes legally required adverts. Nearly £800,000 of the advertising cost was for States recruitment and advertising purposes.

Guernsey's States chief executive, Paul Whitfield, said £300,000 being spent on third party public relations firms would be subject to a States-wide procurement policy.

He said civil service public relations roles could be changed to reduce costs for taxpayers.

Adam Riddell, chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Channel Islands, said any organisation needed to justify its spend on public relations activity, and that justification needed to be based on "whether that spend has produced the desired outcomes".

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