PUBLIC SECT0R: Devon's Allison joins Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire County Council has hired Devon County Council PR chief Hilary Allison to head its restructured communications function.

Allison joins Gloucestershire at the beginning of March as its first communications and public relations manager. The post was created following a review called for by the council's Lib/Lab ruling coalition.

Councillor Colin Hay, the member responsible for comms, said: 'A lack of effective communications has been regularly highlighted as one of this council's weaknesses. Hilary's appointment is a fundamental part of addressing this issue.'

Following the review the current structure of a three-strong central PR team, seven communications officers and five staff working on online activity will, from April, make way for a central 22-strong corporate comms team.

This will include four newly created managerial roles to report to Allison, covering press and PR, e-government, internal communications and publications.

Allison said: 'The council has been very honest about where it needs to improve. My first task is to look at strategy.'

Other priorities include improving partnerships with local stakeholders and authorities.

Allison leaves Devon County Council after just under five years as its head of communications and information. The council is now reviewing her post.

She previously worked in police PR, as PRO for Gloucestershire Constabulary, and Thames Valley Police, where she was head of corporate communications.

The review of communications was carried out with support from agency Renaissance.

Council CEO Joyce Redfearn added that the change for the comms function is part of a wider restructure at the council.

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