Northants in comms staff cuts

Northamptonshire County Council is to axe nearly half of its comms team as it grapples with cuts in funding from central government.

The 16-strong team will be reduced to nine as part of a council-wide effort to curb spending to keep council tax rises in line with inflation.

There will be a mixture of voluntary and compulsory redundancies in the department, which provides internal comms, publications, marketing and press. The revised team is expected to be in place by May.

In a written statement to PRWeek, recently appointed head of comms and strategy Paul Rushton said: 'We have many messages to communicate but fewer resources to do so. Therefore we have to make comms more effective by ensuring activity is focused on the priorities of customers and communities.'

The council said it must shed 500 of its 18,000 staff to reduce costs.
The CIPR's Local Government Group chairman Robin Treacher said the decision to cut back on PROs was disappointing but would not necessarily indicate the start of a trend in the sector.

'I would not jump to the conclusion that we will see more cuts in council comms teams. There remains some flexibility on spending – it depends how much an authority values its communications. Some authorities will decide to make their savings elsewhere.'

Rushton was head of strategy at Visa for five years and joined the newly created role at Northamptonshire in January.

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