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COI Communications
Government advertising chief resigns

Carol Fisher unexpectedly resigned from her job as Chief Executive of COI Communications in June.

COI (Central Office of Information) Communications is the body responsible for buying all government advertising.

Carol Fisher's resignation came less than four weeks after Panorama: Tony in Adland (broadcast on 26 May) strongly criticised the record amount spent on government advertising throughout 2001 and the concentration of spending in the months before the 2001 general election.

The programme also drew attention to the change announced by the government in February this year, under which Ms Fisher had to report to Alastair Campbell, the Number 10 press chief - who is a political appointment by the Labour Party.

Questions asked

Lord McNally
Lord McNally raised the subject of government advertising in the Lords
On 29 May, as a result of the programme, questions were asked in the House of Lords by Liberal Democrat peer Lord McNally, who was head of the Political Office, 10 Downing Street, 1976-79.

Lord McNally has now tabled a further question for the government to answer, following Carol Fisher's surprise resignation.

Lord Macdonald (the former ITV chief Gus Macdonald) will answer for the government on 8 July.

David Rendell, MP (Lib Dem, Newbury) who is a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which monitors government spending, has already called for a National Audit Office enquiry into government advertising, following the programme.

Is the country's biggest advertiser using your money for party political messages? Panorama investigates, Sunday 2215 BST



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