Portland Local has been launched to help private and public sector clients deal with developments such as the recent Localism Act and National Planning Policy Framework.
The new division is being led by Kevin McKeever, who recently joined Portland from Bell Pottinger where he was a director leading on local government and planning issues.
McKeever told PRWeek that any work for public sector clients would be done within the context of the rules initiated by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. The rules state that local authorities cannot spend public money on lobbying central government through external consultants.
McKeever added: 'It's possible that we would advise new directly elected mayors, for instance, on building a coalition around powers that they will seek to have devolved from Whitehall, which they have to do after election.
'The exciting thing about Portland Local is a new sector will emerge over the next 12 months, with many of the possibilities dependent on how new functions play out, e.g. police and crime commissioners.'
Portland Local will also advise private sector clients on navigating the changes in the local political landscape.
The launch coincides with the appointment to Portland's comms team of FTI Consulting senior vice-president Victoria Wallin, who will drive the media side of Portland Local.
Wallin joins Portland after ten years with FTI and its predecessor FD, where she handled property, retail and professional services for clients including British Land and HSBC.