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Committee to examine the “Get ready for Brexit” communications campaign

15 March 2020

On 1 September 2019 the government launched the “Get ready for Brexit” public information campaign, to prepare the public, across a range of areas, for a possible ‘no-deal' exit from the EU on the planned date of October 31st. The campaign was stopped on 28 October when the government and EU agreed an extension to the UK's membership of the EU to 31 January 2020.

The campaign was led by the Cabinet Office, and had a budget of £100 million, including £57 million for an “air” campaign  - targeting everyone  - and £26 million for the “ground campaign” - targeting specific groups, like small business owners or European Union citizens, required to take specific actions.

Key facts

  • 6 weeks  - the time taken to design and develop the communication campaign, between the appointment of the new Prime Minister and the campaign launch on 1 September
  • 1 September 2019  - the launch date of the Get ready for Brexit campaign
  • 28 October 2019  - the date the campaign was stopped
  • £100m  - the budget for the “Get ready for Brexit” campaign planned for August 2019 to March 2020
  • £53m  - planned campaign expenditure to end of October 2019
  • £46m  - actual campaign expenditure to end of October 2019
  • 34%  - the percentage of UK citizens who took action based on the campaign, which represents no significant increase in action as result of the campaign
  • 73%  -  the percentage of people surveyed that recalled the campaign when shown an advert

The NAO's report on the campaign found that the Cabinet Office worked at great pace to prepare and launch a large, complex campaign, and that as a result, the public were more aware of some of the things they might need to take action on. However, the Cabinet Office could not demonstrate that the air campaign resulted in significantly better preparedness. The NAO also concluded that the impact of the campaign is likely to have been reduced by the public's reading of political events in the weeks leading up to 31 October, and the perceived likelihood of a no-deal exit.
The Committee will be questioning officials from the Cabinet Office on the performance metrics for the campaign. The Committee will also explore what lessons the Cabinet Office learnt about targeting resources in future campaigns, in order to secure value for money for the taxpayer.


Wednesday 18 March at 2:30pm in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House

  • Sir John Manzoni KCB - Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office
  • Alex Aiken- Executive Director, Government Communications at Cabinet Office

Image: House of Lords