Warwickshire hires Britton to lead revamped PR team

Warwickshire County Council has appointed Bath and North-East Somerset Council marcoms head Eric Britton to fill its top PR role.

The recruitment of Britton as head of communications ends a seven-month spell during which Warwickshire has restructured its PR operation, despite the absence of a permanent departmental head.

Council head of special projects John Lay has been heading the comms department on an interim basis since the departure of Lucy Vincent, who joined the Countryside Agency as head of communications in February.

Lay said the council had ‘taken a step back and drawn breath’ following Vincent’s exit, making various changes to the council’s PR operation, such as the development of a ‘joined-up’ media plan, which was approved by the executive in May, in order to better co-ordinate comms across departments.

In its Comprehensive Performance Assessment last December, the Audit Commission awarded Warwickshire a ‘good’ overall rating but said communication with local people was ‘poor’ and its ‘approach to the media is patchy and depends on how individual departments manage media relations’.

Lay said work was already under way before the publication of the CPA report to boost the council’s comms.

He also said a further change that would be implemented in advance of Britton’s arrival included the shift of the four-strong graphics team into the 15-strong comms department.

Britton was reluctant to discuss his priorities in advance of joining, but said the post was his first at county-council level and he ‘looked forward to the challenge’.

Britton, who starts at Warwickshire on 3 November, said Bath would shortly launch a recruitment search for his replacement.

At Bath, Britton heads an eight-strong team in the role of communications and marketing manager.

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