PUBLIC SECTOR: Gloucester in corp comms head search

Gloucestershire County Council has beefed up its PR function, launching a hunt for its first corporate communications manager.

The decision follows a review by the council's joint Labour/Lib Dem administration, which took control of the council last September when the committee system was scrapped in favour of a cabinet.

The review has called for a strengthening of comms with, for the first time, one manager overseeing all web, internal comms, media relations and corporate comms areas.

The council's most senior PRO was previously Stella Parkes, who had the title of press and information manager before leaving last July to join nearby unitary authority South Gloucestershire.

County councillor Colin Hay, the cabinet member responsible for comms and community strategy issues, says one of the corporate communications manager's key tasks will be to develop the council's brand and comms strategy.

He said: 'During the past seven months we have been developing policy and addressing the significant need to improve services. We are now very clear about where we are heading and it is the right time to ask someone to develop an overall communication strategy that will help us develop better services.'

The council currently has three press officer posts, seven communications officers and five staff working on the internal and external website.

Since Parkes' departure, corporate comms officer Sam Roffe has been the council's most senior spokesperson.

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