The London Borough of Enfield's PR unit has put in place a raft of
changes in response to a critical governmental report of its
The report, by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), slammed
the council for being too wary of the local press and channelling all
media enquiries and PR work through a 'very small team'.
Now, as part of a council-wide review titled 'Future Enfield', a
transformed media relations structure has been created.
The structure includes more press briefings on areas of possible
controversy, regular liaison between council managers and journalists,
and a fortnightly press briefing by council leader Doug Taylor.
The council's publication, Enfield News, is to be revamped in September
to provide, 'more news to engage more people', according to council PRO
She said: 'There have been misunderstandings. They have now been ironed
out and we are encouraging journalists to come in and meet senior
IDeA inspectors, who visited the council last year, did praise the
council's website - www.enfield.gov.uk - in their report.
But on its relationship with local journalists, the report stated: 'The
council's general wariness of the local press has made it reluctant to
engage positively with editors and journalists.
'Opportunities to build and develop a range of relationships with
officers and members are very limited.'
In contrast, the local press was praised by inspectors who said it was
active, balanced and interested in the council's activities.
Meanwhile, staff problems are continuing for the communications
It is still without director of marketing and communications Ashley
Gibbins, who has been absent from work since the first week of June. The
council is tightlipped as to the reason for Gibbins's absence or whether
he will return. Berryman said: 'We cannot comment on this as it is a
Gibbins reported directly to council chief executive David Plank.
The council has still not replaced communications unit manager Tino
Hernandez, who left earlier this year to join the Department of Trade
Berryman is now the most senior media relations officer, while marketing
manager Joanna Popadopolous continues to run marketing work.
The borough covers three parliamentary constituencies, including Enfield
Southgate. In 1997 its then MP Michael Portillo was defeated by Labour
candidate and now junior minister Stephen Twigg.