The Department of Health is on the hunt for a director of communications
following the announcement that Helen McCallum is to leave.
McCallum, who has been at the DoH for seven years, is joining the
Environment Agency as director of corporate affairs at the beginning of
Although the DoH is currently undergoing a departmental review, McCallum
claims communications will be unaffected due to a restructure she
carried out last year.
McCallum was appointed director of communications at the DoH in January
1999. She was responsible for restructuring the media centre to avoid
the long hours that had characterised it in the past (PRWeek, 14 January
2000) and implemented successful campaigns to boost nursing
Other changes she introduced include the division of the department into
three teams, the review of the rota system and the introduction of a
planning unit to help the department take a longer term strategic
Following her departure, the 130 staff will report to the three
departmental directors (media relations, corporate communications and
campaigns) until a successor is appointed. The decision on who replaces
McCallum lies with DoH permanent secretary and NHS chief executive Nigel
At the Environment Agency, McCallum will report directly to chief
executive Barbara Young with responsibility for 40 staff based in London
and Bristol, as well as overseeing PR teams in the regions and
Commenting on the move, she said: 'I will be looking at the Environment
Agency's positioning and at developing relationships with government,
voluntary and other organisations.'
She will also be promoting understanding of the Environment Agency's
role - explaining what its powers are, the opportunities it has to
protect the environment, as well as developing its education arm and
focusing on extending international relations.
McCallum replaces Brian O'Neill, who moves to construction and support
services company John Mowlem as communications director.