Water UK disbands its PR department in restructure

Water UK, the trade body for the country’s water companies, has disbanded its PR department in a wide-ranging restructure.

Water UK, the trade body for the country’s water companies, has

disbanded its PR department in a wide-ranging restructure.



In the last month, the body’s communications director Barrie Clarke has

seen both PR managers leave, along with its public and parliamentary

affairs manager.



Fiona O’Farrell left the organisation last week to join TalkSport as its

first media relations manager, while her fellow press office head Gordon

Simmons joins the community relations department of mobile phone network

One2One later this month. Public affairs head Miles Celic this week

joined Fishburn Hedges as a consultant.



Water UK was formed two years ago by the merger of the Water Companies’

Association and the Water Suppliers’ Association. It was intended to

have a major communications role on behalf of the industry, a fact

reflected in the appointment of former BBC corporate affairs director

Pamela Taylor as chief executive.



The water regulator Ofwat’s pricing review last November led to

belt-tightening across the industry and a 30 per cent budget cut for

Water UK. The three departing staff members are not going to be

replaced, although Clarke did not rule out freelance help or outsourcing

communications to an agency.



As a result of these changes, the industry’s weekly magazine, Water, is

no longer to be produced from Water UK’s office. From next month it will

be published under license by C&B Communications.



The body does not use PR agencies, but it retains the Rowland Company

for public affairs in the UK, and APCO for European work in

Brussels.



These relationships may now be in jeopardy.



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