The reply to Question No. 93 of 26 January indicated that six full time staff and one job sharer are assigned to the press and public relations function in my Department. The overriding focus of the work of these staff is on public information and dealing with the media and any public relations benefit which accrues to my Department derives from these activities. I do not consider that there is scope to reduce the numbers of staff assigned to these duties or the associated costs.
That reply also referred to the engagement by my Department of public relations companies. However, these appointments are for projects that relate to raising awareness and delivering information to the public on specific areas of my Department's brief rather than delivering a public relations service for my Department.