NEWS: Post Office overhauls its group communications

The need for better communication with its 190,000 staff has prompted a major Post Office restructuring which sees staff numbers at group centre reduced from 3,000 to under 100.

The need for better communication with its 190,000 staff has prompted a

major Post Office restructuring which sees staff numbers at group centre

reduced from 3,000 to under 100.



The reorganisation, announced internally two weeks ago but not made

public until now, sees around 2,900 group staff redeployed to the Post

Office’s three businesses: Royal Mail, Post Office Counters and

Parcelforce.



PR director Alan Williams is appointed to the new job of group director

of communications and corporate relations responsible for a budget of

around pounds 10 million.



He heads a group communications team of 25 handling national press,

employee, corporate and government relations and is part of a five-man

Post Office group executive reporting to chief executive Bill Cockburn.



The reorganisation also sees the creation of a communications support

‘agency’ of around 75 staff, brought together from the Post Office’s

three businesses. This will handle the production of publications,

including Courier the employee newspaper; exhibitions; and film and

photographic material. It will ‘sell’ its services to the various Post

Office businesses.



The move sees the Post Office bringing together external and internal

communications strategy for the first time. Williams said the need to

improve communications came to light last year when the Post Office

lobbied the Government for greater commercial freedom.



‘We realised that our internal communications lagged behind our external

communications. We could supply copy to newspapers electronically, but

we couldn’t do that for our own staff who were reading about things

first in the press,’ he said.



He added that support from 140 communications suppliers including PR

agencies would be ‘looked at over time’ and said a move towards ‘fewer

but longer relationships’ was likely.



Williams said there would be no major change in PR staff numbers, but

added: ‘When the music stops we may end up with one or two fewer

people.’



Feature, p10.



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