Belfast City Council is seeking a head of corporate communications following the completion of a strategic review by Edinburgh-based PS Communication Consultants.
Commissioned over a year ago to carry out a reappraisal of its communications operations (PRWeek, 3 September 1999), the PSCC team, led by MD Ian Coldwell, has recommended a key PRO appointment to lead an expanded corporate communications unit.
Three other senior posts - media relations manager, internal communications manager and publications and new media officer - were also identified.
'The key recommendation was a head of corporate communications, and for he or she to sit with the top management team at the decision-making process,' said Coldwell, who was given a brief to advise the council on the steps required to establish a 'proactive, effective and efficient approach to corporate communications'.
'We identified ways for greater integration of policy and communication, such as how best to support 'Best Value' policy and better two-way communication. We took into account the changing circumstances of local government in Northern Ireland,' he added.
The review process involved interviews with staff, councillors, journalists and partner organisations. PSCC also carried out surveys, the findings of which were published earlier this year. 'The findings were approved by the council which has also agreed to the key recommendation,' said Coldwell.
Council assistant chief executive Robert Wilson said the council will begin the search for candidates in early 2001.
'We plan to expand the corporate communications unit to ten,' he said.
The previous communications set-up involved three senior PROs and two admin istrative staff.