Social work body picks first PR head

Social work watchdog The General Social Care Council has appointed

local government PR stalwart Mark Oakes as its first head of comms.

Oakes will join the body in April from Surrey County Council, where he

is serving out his notice as head of communications.

His new role includes overseeing all media relations, marketing, PR and

public consultation work.

This includes the consultation process that was launched this week on

draft proposals for the social work profession's first national code of


He is also tasked with improving the image of social workers, which has

taken a battering after a spate of recent high-profile scandals.

This includes the role social workers played in the death of Haringey

child abuse victim Victoria Climbie. The inquiry into Climbie's death,

which started last October, is chaired by Lord Laming.

Oakes described his task of improving the profession's image as a 'major


His appointment is one of three senior appointments announced this week

by the council's CEO Lynne Berry.

Director of the Department for Education and Skills's lifelong learning

team Mike Wardle joins as director of regulation. And head of resources

at the London Borough of Lewisham Chris Pottinger joins as director of

corporate services. His role includes overseeing information


Prior to joining Surrey in 2000 Oakes was head of corporate

communications at Essex County Council.

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