PUBLIC SECT0R: Regeneration body nets comms boss

The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit has appointed its first head of


Susan Clifford joins the body, set up by the Government to spend £3bn on alleviating poverty in Britain's most deprived areas, from The

National Trust where she was head of press.

One of her first tasks will be to handle PR surrounding the body's first

anniversary this week. This includes promoting existing and planned

regeneration projects.

She said it was also crucial that the unit is properly promoted among

government departments, which are now considering public spending


She added: 'There is a lot of work to be done co-ordinating PR at a

local level with much more liaison with fellow press officers in local

government and the police, for example.'

Clifford, who has previously worked as a Home Office press officer and

dealt with the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, reports to the unit's

director-general Joe Montgomery.

She heads a 12-strong team, which includes six staff in post, three

already recruited and two posts to be filled.

Last October Sian Jones was appointed as deputy head of


Jones previously spent nine years at the Housing Corporation, the

government agency that funds and regulates housing associations.

The NRU is responsible for handling the Government's Neighbourhood

Renewal Fund as well as the New Deal for Communities initiative and

neighbourhood warden schemes.

The unit's creation in 1997 followed a review by the Government's social

exclusion unit and is part of a 20-year plan to significantly narrow the

gap between rich and poor areas.

Around £50m of the New Deal for Communities fund is being spent in

areas of Bradford near to scenes of rioting last year (PRWeek, 3 August


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