Downing Street comms overhaul focuses on Big Society and efficiency

Downing Street chiefs have put the final touches to a restructure of the official comms operation, to place a greater emphasis on communicating the Government's key themes: Big Society and efficiency.

The shake-up of civil service comms staff across Downing Street and the Cabinet Office was revealed by PRWeek early this year, and finalised this week.

It comes as Prime Minister David Cameron also shakes up his political staff, amid fears at senior levels in No 10 that the Government is suffering severe damage as voters hear daily stories of cutbacks.

Former Cabinet Office director of comms Jenny Grey now stands side-by-side with the Prime Minister's spokesman Steve Field as director of policy comms, putting an increased emphasis on cross-government campaign development. This push is strengthened further by the newly created cross-government campaigns unit.

Separately, the PM has hired Populus MD Andrew Cooper as director of political strategy, while Craig Oliver, the former BBC News at Ten editor, is due to take up his director of comms post in March.

Cooper and Oliver both join as special advisers.

Meanwhile, Paul Kirby, a partner at KPMG, will be the civil service head of policy development at No 10, it was announced this week.

40% - Admin cuts required across the Cabinet Office
25% - Savings required across Number 10 operation
33% - Combined comms savings enabled by the restructure
Source: Downing Street spokesman

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