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Government Accepts Recommendations of Review of Strategic Communications Unit

 

The Government today noted the comprehensive review of the Strategic Communications Unit (SCU) which has been completed by the Secretary General to the Government, and accepted its recommendations.

The review found that there is no evidence of a breach of the Civil Service Code by civil servants in the SCU, whether by seeking favourable coverage for Fine Gael candidates or otherwise.  The relevant editors have confirmed, as part of the review, that the choice of photos and quotes was determined by them at a local level and was not subject to any outside influence.

Having taken a wide range of issues into consideration, as set out in the review report, the Secretary General has recommended that the Strategic Communications Unit should be wound down and that the Department of the Taoiseach should revert to a reformed Government Information Service, with a smaller budget, less staff and a more limited role than the SCU.  

The review also recommended a number of steps to be taken across Government Departments to preserve valuable and necessary reforms to ensure value for money, professionalisation and modernisation in government communications activity.

There will be a transition period until July 2018 for the implementation of all of the recommended next steps as set out in the Review.

The Government decided to publish the “Review of the Operation of the Strategic Communications Unit” and an accompanying “Report on Matters relating to the Strategic Communications Unit and Project Ireland 2040”.

The Government also decided to publish a report prepared by the SCU entitled “Baseline Research Phase1 : Audit of government communications and international best practice”.