PUBLIC SECT0R: Review sees Leeds Council rethink PR

Leeds City Council is to launch a hunt for its first head of

communications following a critical internal review of its PR

function.



The in-house review found the council had inadequate internal

communications and corporate PR strategy.



James Rogers, assistant director of corporate support services,

initiated the review two years ago with help from Leeds-based consultant

Andrew McEwen.



Roger said: 'We have a small PR team and we found that it was

concentrating on dealing with the press and media in a reactive way.

Work was also needed in communicating to our own staff and that is why

it is important that this role exists.'



As well as developing internal communications and PR strategy, the head

of communications will lead the six-strong PR team and co-ordinate PR in

each department.



Currently all departments carry out some PR, such as public

consultation. This is handled by staff who are not dedicated PR

professionals.



Rogers said there are no plans to integrate departmental PR into a

central larger team.



He said: 'We feel that the individuals within these departments are

experts in their own field, the head of communications will help

co-ordinate their PR work.'



The review at the council, which employs 36,000 staff and serves a

population of 750,000, also ruled out giving the head of communications

a direct reporting line to chief executive, Paul Rogerson.



Instead, the new postholder will report to Rogers, who reports to

Rogerson only through chief corporate support officer Neil Evans.



Currently the only corporate internal communications is a quarterly

staff bulletin.



Last year the council hired agency Sinclair Mason to handle crisis

management surrounding the publication of a critical Ofsted report on

the local education authority.



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