Public Sector: Ministry of Justice gets head of news from DfID

The head of news at the Department for International Development (DfID) is to move across to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Vickie Sheriff will take the same role at the MoJ, reporting to director of comms Clare Harbord.

Sheriff will start her new role in March and will oversee a team of 30 press officers. She said: 'The Ministry of Justice is a much bigger portfolio, and it is also dealing with more high-profile domestic news. It's also a new department. So it's an exciting personal challenge.'

The MoJ handles prisons, human rights and constitutional matters and is headed by secretary of state Jack Straw.

The MoJ recently revealed that it will spend £145,000 on PR agencies over the course of the year, between 9 May 2007 and 31 March 2008 (PRWeek, 9 November 2007).

This includes £25,000 on a campaign to increase understanding of the work of courts and their role in the justice system.

Sheriff has been heading up the DfID press office for two-and-a-half years.

She has also worked as chief press officer at the Department for Trade and Industry and senior information officer at the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

DfID director of comms Paul Mylrea said: 'Vickie has done a great job in building up the press team. She has a professional approach to the media and brought in good people.'

DfID has advertised the role, which offers a £69,000 salary.

Mylrea said a key task would be 'raising awareness about international development among the UK public, who all too often get a distorted view of the excellent work done in their name'.

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