PUBLIC SECT0R: Taylor leaves East Riding to set up PR consultancy

East Riding of Yorkshire County Council's comms head Simon Taylor has quit to set up his own PR consultancy.

Taylor will leave the council at the end of next month after more than two years, to set up TaylorSyms Marketing and Public Relations.

The Hull-based start-up will be jointly run with William Syms, a former colleague of Taylor's in Railtrack's PR department, where he worked before joining East Riding.

Taylor said that the move into consultancy work was something he had been considering for around a year: 'I've achieved everything I wanted to at the council and it is time I moved on.'

The council, England's largest in geographic terms, is now looking to replace Taylor, heading a 19-strong team reporting to personnel and performance director Harry Skelton.

Taylor has been very much part of the ruling Conservative group's ethos of what he calls 'private sector thinking within the public sector'.

This has included driving through a plan to make the comms team entirely self-funded by 2004. It is hoped this can be achieved through selling its services to other authorities, as well as what Taylor calls 'cost savings'.

He points to the revamp of the council newspaper East Riding News, which included diverting advertising costs away from the local media and carrying council publications that would previously have been sent out separately, as an example of this.

A key achievement for Taylor's team over the last year was to win the IPR local government group's top award of Communicators of the Year.

However, late last year Taylor attracted criticism from within the council PR community after his failed attempt, through the Press Complaints Commission, to stop a local newspaper from referring to him as a 'spin doctor' and printing details of his salary (PRWeek, Letters 1 November, Public Sector 18 October).

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