Radical reform of Downing Street comms engineered by Andy Coulson

Radical comms restructure will lead to new 'cross-government campaigns' team.

Andy Coulson shakes up Downing Street comms before departure
Andy Coulson shakes up Downing Street comms before departure

Andy Coulson helped push through a radical restructure of the Downing Street comms operation just days before his resignation as comms director, PRWeek can reveal.

The new structure will see the merger of Number 10 and Cabinet Office comms units, resulting in seven different teams (see box).

One of the teams will focus on 'cross-government campaigns', taking on many of the functions of Downing Street's former strategic comms unit, disbanded by Coulson last May.

A Downing Street insider told PRWeek: 'Coulson believed the remit of the old strategic comms unit was too broad - covering regional and digital media as well as planning. The new campaigns unit will be more focused around key government priorities.'

One priority for the cross-government campaigns team is the Government's modernisation programme. The new team will focus on co-ordinating comms around schools, the NHS and local government.

The restructure was carried out by the Prime Minister's spokesman Steve Field and Cabinet Office director of comms Jenny Grey, overseen by Coulson, who is said to be 'proud' of the achievement. The new structure will be in place by April. Downing Street plans to advertise for a leader for the cross-government campaigns unit, but sources suggested Cabinet Office deputy director of strategic comms Emma Thwaites was the frontrunner for the post.

Downing Street comms staff were informed of the details in a presentation just days before Coulson's resignation last week.

A senior official with knowledge of the plans said: 'This isn't just about saving money.

We also want to improve the co-ordination and impact of communications right across Government and make sure the centre is designed to support that.'

NEW NO 10 TEAMS
No 10 Press Office
Deputy Prime Minister and Political Reform
Government Reform and Efficiency
National Security Council and Afghanistan
Cross-Government Campaigns
Digital Communications
Events and Visits

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