Barking snares Stroud to oversee marcoms team

Barking and Dagenham Council has secured former Oftel director of comms Duncan Stroud as its group manager, marketing and communications.

The east London borough had previously been using Grant Riches assistant director Dee Sullivan as interim PR chief, following a review of PR handled by the agency last year.

Stroud, who is overseeing a team of 30 at Barking, reports to assistant chief executive Nina Clark.

Since leaving Oftel in 2003, Stroud has had a series of high-profile interim roles including at Tower Hamlets Council, VisitBritain, Surrey County Council, the reg­ional dev­elopment agency and re­gen­eration body Places for People. His appointment at Barking is his first permanent role in three years.

‘Interim roles are good, but it is also beneficial to work for an organisation for some time to enable me to significantly drive forward change and see the results,' he said.

The review that took place last year resulted in a beefed-up corporate division - a four-strong marketing team has been added to the function.

‘I took this role partly because the authority recognises that excellent councils need excellent comms,' said Stroud.

Barking and Dagenham is one of the most deprived r­egions in the capital but is undergoing significant regeneration.

The British National Party became the second largest party on the council earlier this year when it won 12 seats in the local election.

Politicians have publicly warned that the BNP is making ground in areas where tensions exist over the allo­cation of housing. Unsubstantiated rumours that the councils pay black or ­immigrant families to take housing are reported to be fuelling the BNP's popularity in areas such as Barking.

Stroud declined to comment on the council's political make-up, but said a priority for the council was to encourage people to take pride in their borough and to celebrate ­diversity.

‘All of the people in our borough are treated equally, whether it be in housing or education, or any other service,' he said.

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