PUBLIC SECTOR: Barking and Dagenham grows comms

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham's communications team is

set to double in size as part of a raft of measures to improve


Both an internal review and a Best Value inspection this year concluded

that more needed to be done to improve the council's corporate identity

and boost its local and national profile.

As a result, the council has restructured the department and recruited

former London Borough of Waltham Forest PR head Jane Bufton as its first

head of corporate communications.

She is tasked with formulating a national and local media relations

strategy and overseeing a doubling of the five-strong team. This brings

together design, PR and public affairs in the same department for the

first time and includes recruiting two additional PROs.

Changes also include the promotion of PRO Melissa Hoskins to become

deputy head of corporate communications.

Bufton said: 'My main priorities are to raise local pride and profile of

the Barking and Dagenham council the length and breadth of the country.

This is a little-known council that has achieved a lot and is improving

at a fast rate.'

Bufton, who reports to borough policy officer John Tatam, added that one

way she aims to raise the profile locally is to attempt to gain

increased media coverage of CEO Graham Farrant and council leader

Charles Fairbrass.

- North Yorkshire County Council has appointed Clare Walker as its first

head of communications.

The council has created the post to co-ordinate marketing and PR across

the council. She heads a team of five and reports to director of

business and consumer services Gordon Gresty.

Walker's priorities include creating a corporate identity and improving

public consultation and internal comms.

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