PUBLIC SECTOR: Met Office to inform public of role beyond TV weather

The Met Office is to step up the promotion of its government work,

including its research on behalf of British forces in Afghanistan.

The move has been taken to show that the service, which is part of the

Ministry of Defence, provides more than TV weather forecasts.

Its public sector business division has this month renewed its contract

with retained agency Prowse & Co and tasked it with finding fresh ways

of communicating its work to the public.

The division has been involved in some of the biggest news stories of

the past 12 months, including the current conflict in Afghanistan, where

it has been advising the military on weather movements.

However, this work goes largely unnoticed according to Met Office

spokesman Andy Yeatman.

Government work has included monitoring the spread of the airborne

disease foot-and-mouth, and warning of floods through the work of its

National Severe Weather Warning Service.

Yeatman said: 'We have done a good job communicating our work to those

who use our services but among the general public we are known primarily

as the people who give the weather forecasts on the TV. We do so much

more than that.

'Obviously, though, with the military work we have to be aware of issues

of national security,' he continued.

Yeatman added that the division is considering increasing public affairs

work as a way of better communicating its services.

This latest PR drive is led by head of business development Kate Smith,

to whom the Prowse & Co team reports.

PR for the Met Office's commercial division continues to be handled by

agency QBO.

The Met Office was last month given the go-ahead to move from its base

in Bracknell, Berkshire, to a new home in Exeter. This site, costing

£150m, will include two computer halls, an energy centre and a

visitors and conference centre.

Staff at the Met Office are currently providing information to the NHS

about climate change over the winter months in order to help health

workers be better prepared.

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