Public Sector: The Public Sector Week

The LGA presents case that council publications are not influencing local news demise.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has presented evidence that council publications have not influenced the demise of local news. The LGA made the case at the Local Media Summit held by culture secretary Andy Burnham at the House of Commons last week. The research showed that four in five councils produce six or fewer magazines a year. However, MPs said councils should not be using taxes to produce their own publications. Councils are now bracing themselves for an Office of Fair Trading report, which is imminent.

Sing Up, the programme that aims to make sure singing is a major part of primary school teaching, is seeking a PR agency to support its activities. The government-funded programme is currently handled by Seventy-Seven PR, which will be repitching. The winning agency will support Sing Up for two years.

Brighton & Hove City Council has appointed a head of marketing from tech PR agency Text 100. Jake Barlow will oversee all marketing communications and brand development including the council's newspaper, web development, social media and internal communications, supported by a team of nine.

The Central Office of Information (COI) has appointed a deputy director of news and public relations. James Helm joins in July from his own consultancy Helm Media. Helm has worked as a reporter, producer and presenter on Radio 4's Today programme, Radio 5 Live, BBC World and the BBC World Service. This newly created role follows last year's integration of COI's news and PR teams. Helm will take responsibility for COI's regional news and PR teams and provide press relations advice on campaigns.

LGCommunications is revealing the initial findings from its two-year 'commission on senior roles' project on 19 May. It looked into the main skills that heads of comms need. The findings reveal attractive skills include generating cost savings and understanding the council's wider business drivers.

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