DWP snares Doherty to deal with jobs shake-up

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has hired Department for Trade and Industry head of internal and electronic comms John Doherty.

As head of internal comms he will help manage staff relations during massive staff cutbacks.

The post has been created as part of a wider shake-up of the DWP comms department in anticipation of the cull of 30,000 DWP staff by 2008. It has already axed 10,000 jobs as part of the reform of the civil service and has not ruled out redundancies in the 320-strong comms department.

While the DWP plans to reduce staff, it also aims to strengthen top comms posts.

Doherty will report to head of comms Simon MacDowall and oversee four other heads of internal comms for each DWP agency - Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service, the Child Support Agency and the Disability and Carers Agency.

'It is a tough brief,' said MacDowall. 'It is about getting staff engaged while we are making reductions, and getting people to see they fit into the vision that (DWP Secretary) David Blunkett is articulating.'

The DTI has not found a replacement for Doherty, nor for director of comms Sheree Dodd, who left in July.

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