Public sector news in brief

Appointment: Grant Riches Communication Consultants has appointed Nicolette Fox as a senior consultant. She was previously strategic campaigns manager at Brighton and Hove City Council. At the council she managed Brighton and Hove’s sustainability campaign, Nine Lives, and its successful bid for city status in 1999. Earlier in her career, Fox also worked as a journalist for the BBC, London Weekend Television and the Sydney Morning Herald.

East Riding: The East Riding of Yorkshire Council has expanded its Citizenlink scheme to a local hospital to help boost residents’ access to local services. The scheme at Castle Hill Hospital provides face-to-face access to the council’s customer service network using video-conferencing technology. Customer service advisers can provide information on 580 council services.

Halton: Halton Borough Council has appointed Michelle Baker as acting head of comms while a permanent replacement for Jane Astle is sought. Astle joined Lancashire Constabulary as its head of comms on 1 March (PRWeek, 30 January). Baker heads a team of six and reports to operational director Robert McKenzie.

IDeA: The Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) has launched a module on communications for town and parish councils on its website – www.idea-knowledge.gov.uk – as part of the connecting with communities toolkit. The module was developed after a survey found that more than a quarter of respondents in villages said they did not know how to get in touch with their parish council, rising to nearly half in market/small towns.

Barrow-in-Furness: Barrow-in-Furness Council’s executive committee is planning to draft in PR support to promote the district’s proposed multi-million pound dockland development. Councillor Dave Pidduck told PRWeek: ‘The dock development will have an impact in the town and we want it to help bring people and businesses here.’

Whitehall: The Ministry of Defence has launched a media events database tool to help improve its communications. The software has been developed by consultancy IconZest to track and monitor news and events. MoD head of communication planning David Howard said: ‘It will radically improve our communication planning.’

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