BAe director of communications has ‘functional accountability’ for 80 comms staff
When British Aerospace’s director of communications Locksley Ryan joined
the firm 15 months ago part of his remit was to integrate the
communications functions across the group - a process which is ongoing.
Ryan has overall strategic responsibility and what he describes as
‘functional accountability’ for the group’s 80 communications staff.
At the individual business level, communications staff deal with
localised media relations and exhibitions support. The central
department’s role is to provide direction and ensure consistency of
messages across the group.
Ryan’s department also co-ordinates some above-the-line activity,
investor relations PR and government affairs. It uses external agencies
on an ad-hoc basis in areas such as internal communications and video
production, while Cardew and Co is retained for financial relations.
‘Our communications budget can be measured in millions of pounds and
it’s increasing,’ says Ryan. ‘This funds a broad range of activities,
including winning press support for new contracts, dealing with pressure
groups opposed to overseas sales and some challenging financial issues.’
County Durham Health Authority
The health authority’s communications department has been up and running
for just four months, coinciding with the merger of the North and South
Durham Health Authorities and the Family Health Service Authority on 1
April this year. The department has a budget of pounds 41,500 and an
additional pounds 5,000 is spent on external suppliers.
Communications manager Michelle Handley gives communications advice to
the authority’s board on the full range of health issues. Day to day
work also covers media relations, internal communications for the
authority’s 120 employees, community relations, the production of a
community newsletter, advertising, direct mail and market research. It
also gets involved in hospital service reviews and, more recently,
managed the campaign to reduce unnecessary night visits by GPs, and a
drive to encourage people to take aspirin as a means of reducing the
likelihood of heart disease.
Michelle Handley joined the authority in November 1994. Aided by one
assistant, Handley reports to the authority’s director of performance
management Margaret Stewart who takes overall responsibility for
communications, human resources, IT systems and complaints. Senior
managers in each of the authority’s six regions also have an important
PR function. Because of their role in supervising GPs’ services, the
managers also maintain strong links with district councils, social
services, patients, carers and voluntary organisations.