Design Council appoints former YJB comms chief

Youth Justice Board (YJB) head of comms Rachel Pitkeathley has quit to take the newly created role of head of government affairs at the Design Council.

Pitkeathley will take up the post next week and will attempt to boost the profile of the body across Westminster.

‘It is about focusing public affairs work more effectively and working with the Government to develop our profile,’ she said.

Heading a team of five, Pitkeathley will report to deputy chief executive Harry Rich.

The public affairs team formerly reported to director of planning Toby Scott, but responsibility for the team will lie with Rich when Pitkeathley takes up the role.

She joined the YJB five and a half years ago when the body was set up and built the comms team, which now comprises 15 people.

The YJB is on the hunt for Pitkeathley’s successor.

Explaining her move, Pitkeathley said: ‘There is only so long you can do it – you never win with youth crime, you never get to say it is slashed.’

‘People commit suicide, people die, and I wanted to do something more cheerful,’ she added.

Before the YJB, Pitkeathley was an account director at Westminster Strategy and before that ran her own eponymously titled consultancy. Previous to Westminster Strategy, she was head of public affairs at Shelter.

The Design Council is funded by the Department for Trade and Industry and works to promote design.

Rich said Pitkeathley’s post had been created to reflect the increasing importance of influencing policy and the growing significance design has in the economy.

The council is working to promote design in key areas, including technology – where it can be used to help connect technology with users – and public services.

‘Public services fail if they are not designed around human needs,’ said Rich.

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