Tower Hamlets chief strengthens comms

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has finally appointed a

communications chief after 18 months of turmoil.



The council's PR team has been leaderless since the end of 1999 and this

year it was almost disbanded with communications set to be

out-sourced.



Now the council has pledged a stable future for its PR team and

appointed London Borough of Haringey head of communications Siobhan

Crozier to lead its PR.



The decision to take on Crozier, who has been at Haringey for five

years, follows a communications review by agency Renaissance earlier

this year.



The Renaissance team successfully persuaded councillors not only to keep

its in-house PR but to strengthen it. Director Lorraine Langham said:

'There has been a lot of thinking going on, a time for reflection. This

is a fresh start for Tower Hamlets. The council realises the importance

of communications.'



Crozier, who joins within the next three months, will manage a

restructured 19-strong team and report to CEO Eleanor Kelly.



Head of operational services Gary Watson has been co-ordinating PR in

the interim.



The council is looking to fill seven vacancies, including a head of

press.



The PR problems at Tower Hamlets, home to the Canary Wharf development,

began in 1998 when councillors scrapped the head of communications role,

leading to the redundancy of the postholder Tony O'Regan, who now runs

Renaissance.



A head of PR and media role was created but O'Regan's replacement Peter

Davies was also made redundant after less than 18 months in the job.



An attempt to recruit a rebranded role of marketing and communications

head last year was unsuccessful.



Crozier is optimistic the council has now created a long-term PR

function: 'Tower Hamlets doesn't have a bad reputation, just a low

profile and that needs to change.'



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