Citizens Advice hires top Labour adviser Polly Billington

A Labour Party comms chief has been brought in by Citizens Advice, formerly known as the Citizens Advice Bureau, as the Government hands it greater responsibility for consumer protection.

In demand: The charity has faced increased requests for its services

The charity, which advises people on legal problems, debt and other issues, has appointed Polly Billington, the Labour Party’s head of internal comms and a former senior adviser to Ed Miliband.

Billington will join the organisation early next year as head of campaigns and comms. Her work will focus on Citizens Advice taking greater responsibility from the Government for consumer advocacy around financial issues, as quango Consumer Focus is wound down for closure by 2014.

Citizens Advice has faced rising demand for its services due to the economic climate and public service reform.

The charity recently warned Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith that there were flaws in the universal credit system planned for October 2013. It has also advised the Government on the impact of pay-day lending.

Billington will lead internal comms across the body’s network and its increased remit, as well as striving to raise its campaigning voice.

A former BBC journalist, Billington joined Miliband as a special adviser in 2007 at the Cabinet Office and the Department Of Energy & Climate Change.

She later took on the role of media director for Miliband’s successful leadership bid in 2010.

Billington has been selected as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, to stand at the next general election.

A spokeswoman for the charity told PRWeek that her position as a candidate was taken into consideration and its impact on the full-time role at Citizens Advice would be assessed closer to the time

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