Granatt warns James of ‘difficult task’ in govt role

Former pan-Whitehall comms chief Mike Granatt has warned Howell James that he faces a ‘uniquely difficult task’ in his new role as permanent secretary of government communications.

Granatt, whose job as Government Information and Communications Service director-general was axed last year in the review that recommended the creation of James’s role, said: ‘It’s notoriously difficult to get permanent secretaries and heads of information to work together across government – they work for their ministers, not the Cabinet Office.’

‘Howell will have to use influence rather than any executive authority,’ added Granatt.

IPR director-general Colin Farrington said: ‘The GICS needs someone like [James] rather than a career generalist civil servant.’

James worked as political secretary for PM John Major in the mid-1990s and as director of corporate affairs at the BBC. He joins in June from Brown Lloyd James, which he co-founded.

Granatt, now a partner at Luther Pendragon, said James was ‘one of the few people’ with the experience the job requires.

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