Worcestershire County Council has appointed Jo Barker from Redditch Borough Council to fill its top PR role.
Barker has quit her corporate communications manager role in Redditch to join the county council in the same position in early January.
Corporate media officer Lee Shrimpton, who has been acting in Worcestershire’s top PR role since the sudden death of Kevin Galloway in July (PRWeek, 8 August), said Barker was likely to prioritise the implementation of a ‘best value’ review that was completed earlier this year.
Shrimpton said the Galloway-driven review, which was approved by the council’s cabinet in May, had flagged ‘branding issues’ and council publications as specific PR-related areas that should be improved.
He said: ‘We need to ensure there’s no duplication of information leaflets, for example. There may be a chance this has happened in the past – there’s no need for three leaflets when one will do’.
He said that ensuring the ‘consistency’ of Worcestershire branding on council publications would also be prioritised.
Barker will report to director of corporate services Trevor Newton, taking charge of a core PR team that has grown to six following the appointment of Sarah Chambers as internal communications officer in September.
However, Barker will also be in charge of around 65 further staff, scattered across areas such as tourism, who have comms responsibilities.
Barker joined Redditch three-and-a-half years ago from a role as comms officer for University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust.
Redditch strategy and review director Jacqui Branch said Barker, who leads a three-strong PR team, was leaving ahead of a ‘crucial time’ for the council, with its Comprehensive Performance Assessment inspection scheduled for September next year.