THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Would you take a job in local government?

Islington has just hired a PR head, but Lambeth, Haringey and Hammersmith are still searching.

Islington has just hired a PR head, but Lambeth, Haringey and

Hammersmith are still searching.

Mark Fletcher


’Yes. It’s the toughest public relations brief you’ll get. As a former

council PR head, I know that you’re coping with competing and

contradictory demands most days. The council could say one thing, but

politicians another.

You are managing the reputation of an organisation which has to be all

things to all people. To some it educates their children, to others it

takes them away. To most, it simply empties their bins.’

Phyllis Campbell-McRae


’I would be open to working in local government, but I would want to

establish the council’s motivation in employing a PR executive. The work

is appealing as it deals with issues that have a direct impact on

people’s lives. But the down side can be the snail’s pace at which

things move, the bureaucracy and the potential for political

intervention. If the council’s motivation was purely political, and all

it wanted was to improve its own image, I wouldn’t be interested.’

Wendy Andrews

The Arts Council

’Yes, I worked for Lewisham and Hackney Councils in the 1980s. I found

it a challenging and stimulating environment, working with some really

creative people and dealing with some of the hottest political and

social issues of the day. The public sector is the place to be if you

want to work on issues affecting national life.’

Janet Mills

Audi UK

’No. All PR is tough, but I imagine local government would be

particularly difficult. It would be a real challenge to make things like

emptying bins and local fetes appealing. The image one has of working in

local government is not particularly attractive either. To work in an

industry, I would have to believe in the product and, frankly, I


Mike Lee

Westminster Strategy

’There are many interesting and important communications challenges in

modern local government: the push for more transparency, improved

consultation and best value has major implications for the role. But the

jobs need to be made attractive to PR professionals and sold in an

innovative and creative way. For me personally, with six years’

experience as a local councillor, it is not a planned preference.’

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