DECC prepares to go without comms chief after Paddy Feeny's exit

The Department for Environment and Climate Change will leave its empty comms chief role vacant as it goes through a restructure, PRWeek has learned.

Nuclear power: a major area for debate
Nuclear power: a major area for debate

The news suggests that the department's comms in two major areas of debate - nuclear energy and climate change - are to be left without strategic guidance for the foreseeable future.

DECC director of comms Paddy Feeny resigned in May, and is understood to have left without a job to go to.

A spokesman for the department, which is looking to cut costs, said: 'Paddy decided to leave the civil service in May. We don't intend to recruit a new director of comms for the time being.' The spokesman explained that the DECC has decided not to recruit as it is in the middle of restructuring following the spending review.

'In comms, as across all government departments, there will be far less spend on advertising and campaigns. But there will be a new focus on partnerships with the private sector in the delivery of policies such as the Green Deal.'

He denied that Feeny was made redundant.

The team is now being jointly led by head of news Nick Turton and head of corporate comms Paul Dee.

One former Whitehall comms director said of the move: 'Departments are being allowed to come up with their own solutions for saving cash. Clearly the DECC's role is not as challenging as defence, work and pensions or health.'

It was revealed last week that the DECC held talks with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Nuclear Industry Association two days after the Fukushima nuclear disaster to plan a pro-nuclear PR campaign.

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