Public Sector: The Public Sector Week

London Communications Agency director Luke Blair writes this week's column on how to handle conflict situations in comms. To read it go to

Michael Lea, chief writer at Downing Street, is leaving to take a role in the corporate comms team at Sky. The former Daily Mail political correspondent was hired as Gordon Brown's chief writer last May, based in the Downing Street strategic comms unit.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust has appointed Laura Crowden as a media officer. Crowden joins from being a press officer at the Environment Agency. She has also worked as a media and events officer at The Climate Group.

Rochdale Borough Council has launched an online petitioning portal via its website to allow people who live, work and study in the Rochdale borough to begin or sign a petition and have their say.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council's spending on PR has leapt by almost £1m in just two years, the website ThisIsStaffordshire has reported. The latest figures show the council spent £1.605m on PR between April 2009 and the end of this March, a 145 per cent increase on the £654,000 PR budget approved in February 2008 for 2009/10.

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