Public Money Wasted on New Logo for Information Commissioner

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010. 1:00am

Old and new ICO Logos.

While using the Information Commissioner’s Office website this evening I noticed that the ICO’s logo had been changed. The ICO have published a document on their website revealing they have spent £38,399.83 on the new “corporate image”. I am astonished at this shocking waste of public money, which has been spent while we are getting into ever deeper debt as a nation. I think it was utterly barmy to be borrowing money to fund hair-brained schemes like this.
£28,520 of the money was spent on:

Corporate identity design – research, concepts, proposals, design and production of manual

The new ICO logo, like the old one, essentially comprises the three letters “ICO”. Personally I cannot see any need for the change as the old logo was established and clearly identified the organisation. All I can see the new logo doing is confusing recipients of correspondence from the ICO. Requests for renewal of data protection registration already had the feel of a bit of a scam as they demanded their £35 / year tax from organisations I expect the new, unfamiliar, logo as well as being very expensive may worry people receiving demands in the future – especially as Data protection registration has been target for scammers in the past.

I think the ICO has been getting its priorities wrong. The ICO have repeatedly over recent years been going to government and insisting that it requires more money to provide an acceptable standard of service. In 2009 the ICO was given an extra £500,000 intended to enable it to deal with backlogs which were leading to some complaints about Freedom of Information requests taking over a year to get addressed, this came on top of additional funding above its baseline amounting to £1.3 million paid to the ICO between 2005 and 2008.*

It appears the new logo was first brought into use during April 2010 and the ICO’s website states that the changeover to the new image is still ongoing. During April 2010 a notice appeared on the ICO website stating:

The ICO has a brand new look to reflect our new mission, vision and values. Simple and colourful, it puts information at the heart of the design. To save cost and minimise waste, we’re making a gradual change from the old design to the new one, so you’ll see both designs around for a few months. We hope you like our new look.

3 comments/updates on “Public Money Wasted on New Logo for Information Commissioner

  1. Chris Rand

    There’s an old adage that you should never invest in a business which has just redesigned its logo, because it’s the surest indicator that the management has run out of ideas. In the case of the public sector, it’s the surest indicator that the wrong people have too much influence at the highest level.

    Talking of scams, “corporate identity” is one of the most eye-wateringly overcharged services in business today. Boy, can the firms which do this see their prey a mile off. And the cost doesn’t end with the bill from the graphic designers. The bigger the instruction manual which accompanies the new “corporate identity” (and some of these publications are epics), the more onerous the task for printers, signwriters, web designers and the like in conforming to it in the future. And guess who gets the cost of that?

  2. Brian Johnson

    Yes, I agree that the money’s a waste but I’m surprised that the cost is so small. Most similarly-sized organisations spend FAR more than that.

  3. Oliver Stanton

    To be honest it’ll be the ‘research, concepts, proposals’ and the cost of ‘pitching’ that cost the money – the final logo is just a badge, not the substance.

    Most businesses today appreciate and value branding and are quite capable of spotting scams. The public sector? dunno. Usually if we’re called to update a design like this, the company is usually thinking of selling itself…

    Was it a realistic cost? Possibly. Considering the red tape and hoops needed to be jumped through to get to pitch in the first place… The Govmnt should look closely at the impact that costs incurred by unsuccessful bidders that are passed on when they finally land a Govmnt job. Making the process less admin heavy, hoop-jumping and more agile would go a long way to reducing costs.

    We like the idea of fees by results, if ever could be made to work.

    Having said that, still don’t know what the ICO do.

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