PUBLIC SECT0R: Enfield appoints head of PR team after two-year hiatus

The London Borough of Enfield - the council that less than a year ago branded PR 'lies' - has appointed its first communications head for almost two years.

It has been revealed this week that Kate Robertson, media and PR manager at neighbouring Haringey, has accepted the post following a final round of interviews, understood to have taken place two weeks ago and involving eight candidates.

She joins following what she calls an 'unsettling' time for Enfield's PR function, which had a question mark hanging over it's future after the council changed administration to Conservative last May.

The then newly elected leader Michael Rye told PRWeek at the time that 'PR is not a priority for the Conservatives in Enfield. We think it's better to spend money on actual services, not telling people lies'(PRWeek 17 May, 2002).

A month later, though, insiders said Rye's stance had softened (PRWeek, 28 June 2002) and later in the year a new comms strategy, with more emphasis on 'traditional press and publicity work and less on marketing', was put in place (PRWeek, 6 December 2002).

The team has been without a permanent head since the departure of Ashley Gibbins around two years ago. Since then the function was for a period under the control of Human Resources.

Robertson, who joins within three months, confirmed that one of her first tasks at Enfield will be to review the communications team and structure.

When asked about the council's previous antipathy towards PR she said that all councils 'are moving more towards the view that residents' perception of the council is becoming more and more vital in assessing the quality of services'.

Robertson joined Haringey three years ago. During her time at the council she has managed media relations surrounding the inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie.

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