Public Sector: Cabinet Office appoints Worne to open govt role

The Cabinet Office has hired The Department of Health's head of strategic comms John Worne as director of communications as it seeks to promote government as open and accessible.

Worne, who joins on 11 April, will oversee 50 staff at the department, which sits at the heart of Whitehall, and will report to Cabinet Office managing director Colin Barmer.

He will direct a seven-strong press team, as well as oversee internet and electronic comms, editorial content and special communications advice.

On 1 February, the department centralised its comms function into a single team. A spokesman said: 'The units were focused on their individual needs but this structure provides coherent communications.'

The Cabinet Office comprises the Prime Minister's strategy unit and office for civil service reform, the corporate development group and the e-government unit.

It also includes a 'regulatory impact group', which reviews European Union legislation, as well as other sub-departments.

Worne replaces Leonie Austin, who left to join the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors as director of public affairs last May (PRWeek, 28 May 2004).

Worne joins as the department sets up the Government Communications Network, the membership group for government comms staff led by permanent secretary for government comms Howell James (PRWeek, 28 January).

At the DoH, Worne led research, strategy and branding. He was previously Cable & Wireless head of brand and global campaigns.

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