Cambridgeshire and Kent councils develop comms merger plans after budget cuts

Cambridgeshire and Kent county councils are the latest local authorities to push ahead with plans to merge their comms teams with other council functions.

Cambridgeshire and Kent councils: comms merger plans
Cambridgeshire and Kent councils: comms merger plans
Cambridgeshire County Council’s head of comms Andy Allsopp is facing his budget being cut by more than half during the next three years, as a direct proportion of overall cuts to the council’s budgets.

As a result, Allsopp is overseeing a review that will lead to a thinned-down comms unit. While this is ongoing, the council has another plan on the table to merge with the comms departments of neighbouring Cambridgeshire district councils.

The proposals are in the planning stages. Allsopp said: ‘Part of our ongoing plan is to bring the county and district comms together, driven by the localism agenda. The team will be small but we are aiming to achieve a far better co-ordinated approach in terms of marketing at the authority.’

In addition, Kent County Council interim head of comms Jill Rawlins is preparing to give a presentation to the executive committee on 3 May on plans to restructure and merge the separate comms, consultation and engagement functions – currently jointly containing around 100 people.

The moves will include the appointment of a permanent head of comms to replace Rawlins, who explained: ‘We’re trying to be more targeted and cost-efficient.’

These latest developments follow other councils making similar moves. Last year, Blackburn with Darwen Council merged its comms department with its local NHS Trust; while Brighton & Hove City Council is investigating the idea of a model that would create a ‘comms hub’.

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