Hughes, who is awaiting news of the fate of his department's nine staff following the COI's closure next month, criticised Buying Solutions, a procurement portal set up in December for government departments to access its roster of pre-approved public companies, including event organisers.
He said: "The procurement set-up deprives the government of event expertise and tailored support. It will lead to a lack of informed decision-making and agencies won't get the service they are used to."
Hughes also predicted that the COI's demise will mean that big events will no longer be championed by a central unit.
Meanwhile, C&IT has learned that a major government communications announcement looms. Jonathan Lewis, chairman of Live Group, which runs the Department for Education's Creative Choice consortium, revealed that it is expected this month and will outline the new, overall communications strategy.
"The expected announcement will address the whole communications set-up. We are currently working with big departments on service agreements and our work with Whitehall is increasing week by week," he said.
Story in numbers:
9 - number of COI staff who face uncertainty about their jobs
68% - drop in government advertising spend between 2010 and 2011
1946 - the year the COI was established