Home Office news chief switches to Cabinet role

The Home Office’s acting head of news has been shif­ted to head of news at the Cabinet Office.

Michael Winders started in the new role this week. He was previously deputy head of news at the Home Office but had been acting in the top role for the past year.

Winders will be leading ­efforts to communicate the role and remit of the Cabinet Office to the media and overseeing the department’s 24/7 news handling operation.

He reports to acting director of comms John Bretherton and oversees a team of ten. Bretherton previously held the head of news role.

Winders said: ‘The Cabinet Office has an extremely varied brief and plays a unique role in government, co-ordinating policy and supporting the Prime Minister on a range of key programmes that ­straddle different government ­departments.’

Winders will work in particular with Cabinet Office minister Ed Milliband and his ministerial team, including Phil Hope and Gillian Merron, as well as with cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell.

Winders spent seven years at the Home Office.

He worked on comms around the prison service and counter-terrorism.

Winders has also worked for the Ministry of Defence, handling PR for the Royal Navy in Plymouth, and as a reporter for the Plymouth Evening Herald.

The Cabinet Office’s permanent secretary for government comms Howell James hit the news last week after it emerged that he is the second-highest-paid comms officer in the public sector, earning £168,100 in 2006-07.

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