Public Sector: Neill's warning to the Audit Commission

Local government minister Bob Neill has issued a stark warning to the Audit Commission that it should think twice before appointing a new top comms expert.

Audit Commission comms chief David Walker made a shock resignation last month as the quango prepares for closure in 2012 (prweek.com/uk, 17 September).

Neill responded to Walker's departure by telling PRWeek: 'Given the Audit Commission already has an army of 48 press officers, we don't feel it's necessary for the organisation to appoint a new comms director on a six-figure salary.

'It's important in the current political climate that the Audit Commission, like all public bodies, exercises restraint. The era of excess in the public sector is over.'

Walker is departing in the first week of this month with 'no particular plan', but is considering returning to journalism. He reacted to Neill's warning by stating that the chief executive had not yet decided whether he would go ahead with a new appointment, but he thought it was unlikely he would do so.

On 13 August, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced plans to abolish the Audit Commission.

Subsequently, it has emerged that 177 quangos are to be axed by the coalition Government.

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