PUBLIC SECT0R: Suffolk Council recruits ex-Safeway chief

Suffolk County Council has appointed former Safeway media chief Anne Bailey to head its communications function.

Bailey who spent four years at Safeway as media relations controller and the last six years as a freelance consultant will join the council next week as its assistant director (communications).

Bailey will manage a 12-strong team reporting directly to CEO Lin Homer and will be one of the most senior officers within the corporate services directorate.

She said she does not intend to alter the structure of the function, but is keen to improve the way the council communicates with its residents, with a more 'customer service feel to it'.

She said: 'This will be my first time working in the public sector so I think I will bring a different approach.'

She added that as a resident of the county she has already highlighted the need to build on publication efforts and improve online capabilities: 'The website is good but can certainly be more customer focused and in particular find ways that it can interest young people more.'

Bailey singled out the Connexions Suffolk, support and information scheme for 13 to 19-year-olds, as the type of group she wanted to see more involvement with in terms of how the council can better communicate with the young.

She takes on the role vacated by Rachel Stoppard, who left to join East Hertfordshire district council as one of three directors who operate that authority, following the scrapping earlier this year of its CEO role (PRWeek 28 June).

During her time at Suffolk, Stoppard reorganised the communications team - originally just five-strong - and last year also recruited two communications managers for council-wide media and PR and communications for the education service (PRWeek, 25 May 2001).

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