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
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
These relationships may now be in jeopardy.