Former Prescott office in rejig

The Department for Communities and Local Government is beefing up its PR operation with the creation of a director-general post.

Permanent secretary Peter Housden has decided to create the senior role of director-general of governance and communications  following the exit of director of comms Derek Plews.

‘Derek has left the civil service by mutual agreement but has not retired,' a spokesman told PRWeek. The department denied his departure was connected to the creation of additional comms posts or ministerial changes.

The DCLG is also recruiting for a head a news, a role created following the emergence of the department.

The DCLG is effectively the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, rebranded following John Prescott's exit.

While stripped of his department following a number of scandals he remains DPM.

The minister responsible for the DCLG is former education secretary Ruth Kelly.

The department has taken on the ODPM's former remit as well as additional responsibilities, such as the Women and Equality Unit, previously overseen by the Home Office. Responsibility for the Race, Cohesion and Faith Unit has also shifted from the Home Office.

Meanwhile, three additional press officers are being recruited for, partly to handle the additional remit.

Plews joined the ODPM in September 2002 from the MoD, where he was director of news. He was previously director of comms at the Association of Train Operating Companies, and before that was press secretary to Prescott at the then Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Jane Groom is acting director of comms at DCLG.

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