Date lodged: 17 December 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the report in The Herald on 15 December 2018 that spending on public health campaigns has fallen by two-thirds since 2010 to just over £1 million, and whether it plans to increase such expenditure.
Answered by: Jeane Freeman 8 January 2019
Over the last 10 years, robust evaluation and subsequent learnings from campaigns has allowed us to become more efficient and cost effective in targeting and reaching our audiences. Also, over that period, more of our audiences are now online, meaning we’ve been able to target them through digital advertising, thereby saving public money while still ensuring we get our messages out there, just as effectively. Where some years show spikes in spend, this will be related to aspects such as the development of a specific campaign, with cost reducing in subsequent years as overall activity incurs less costs and the production costs are not replicated. We also fund and promote other public health work carried out by boards, with over £18m annually being invested in public health promotion body NHS Health Scotland, which is being replaced by a new organisation Public Health Scotland.
The decision on marketing expenditure by the Scottish Government is via the annual marketing planning process that considers all portfolio topics. This process for 2019-2020 financial year is currently underway and is built around linking marketing activity with the priorities set out in the Programme for Government and where campaign activity can have the most impact.