PUBLIC SECT0R: Southwark comms chief joins public sector PR firm

The London Borough of Southwark's PR chief James Flynn is to

quit.



Flynn is leaving in January to join public sector specialist consultancy

Marina Pirotta Communications.



MPC's high-profile clients include the Department for Transport, Local

Government and the Regions.



It is understood that the council is not immediately launching a hunt

for a replacement, with communications to be headed by media relations

manager Kirsty Senior, and publications and marketing manager Elizabeth

Thompson, in the interim.



Flynn, who is also vice-chairman of the Institute of Public Relations

local government group, heads Southwark's nine-strong communications

team, and reports to head of customer relations, consultation and

communications Amanda Hurst.



He is the first full-time account-handling staff hire for MPC, which was

founded by Marina Pirotta earlier this year. Flynn joins as a

director.



Flynn joined Southwark two years ago from Hackney council where he was

deputy to Pirotta, a former PR chief at Hackney and Brent councils.



He has also worked in PR for London Underground and Newham council.



During his time at Southwark he set up the communications unit and

handled media relations for the council during the aftermath of the

death of Damilola Taylor.



The fatal stabbing of ten-year-old Damilola in Peckham one year ago

generated a wave of negative media reports surrounding crime and safety

in Southwark.



Flynn said: 'Leaving Southwark was a difficult decision to make but

consultancy work was something I had been considering for some time.

This is the next step up for me at this stage in my career.'



Together with consultancy Grant Riches, MPC is creating a tool kit for

the DTLR to help underachieving council PR teams. Polling firm Mori is

also involved in the project.



There are plans to establish a forum of councillors who are in

opposition from across Britain, to see how local authorities can better

promote themselves as corporate identities.



Grant Riches founder Carol Grant said the aim was not to suppress

criticism of councils' ruling groups.



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