DCA in PR shake-up after Phillis recommendations

The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) is to shake up its comms function in line with recommendations made in the Phillis Report to communicate better with Whitehall, the media, the public and stakeholders.

DCA director of comms Lucian Hudson has drafted in Synopsis Communications to help with the review, which aims to make the department’s PR more strategic, proactive and effective, according to Hudson.

The Phillis Report was an independent review of Government comms carried out in January and chaired by Guardian Media Group CEO Bob Phillis. The report recommended government comms should be more robust, more professional and that links between the Government, media and the public should be reassessed.

The DCA is responsible for improving the justice system and works closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, the Legal Services Commission and the Tribunals Executive.

It is responsible for launching an HM Court Service next year, which will employ the bulk of the department’s 20,000 staff and brings together the administration of the court system under one roof. Magistrates courts are currently administered separately from

High Courts, Crown Courts and County Courts, but will join the new Court Service, which launches in April 2005.

The department is also responsible for providing guidance on the Freedom of Information Act, which comes into force next year.

These issues provide the DCA with a comms challenge, said Hudson, who added that the review is expected to lead to a ‘small’ expansion of the department: ‘I am interested in getting better arrangements for us to plan ahead and use our resources more effectively.’

Prior to its creation over a year ago, the work of the DCA was carried out by the Lord Chancellor’s department.

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