DWP boosts digital comms, appoints Gillian Hudson from Number 10

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has significantly expanded its digital team, including the appointment of Number 10's senior digital campaigns manager Gillian Hudson, and integrated it with the press office to put a new focus on creative comms content.

Gillian Hudson: New head of digital reflects new focus at DWP

As part of the new focus, DWP has worked with YouTube star Colin Furze for a new campaign to promote the benefits of pension auto enrolment among younger people.

In the video 'Meet pension fan Derek', inventor Furze, who is famed for creating ‘souped-up’ vehicles, plays a pensioner in the year 2061 showing his happiness at auto-enrolment by gleefully driving his 70mph mobility scooter.

Hudson has joined in the newly created role of head of digital, which is the equivalent of deputy head of news, reporting to head of news Janine Lloyd-Jones.

Working with Hudson on video and design are Andrew Read, who has joined from the Daily Mail Group, and Stuart Livesey, who has worked as a freelancer in broadcasting for more than 20 years. Adam Thorndike, who held senior social media roles at Regis, has also joined as senior social media manager.

There has been a headcount increase of 40 per cent in the digital team, made possible by voluntary exits elsewhere in the comms directorate.

The digital team has been integrated with the press office "to reflect the importance of treating digital content with mainstream media parity".

On the new campaign with Furze, DWP director of comms Richard Caseby said: "We want to reach out to a young audience who might never normally be interested in pensions and Colin Furze is my favourite garage-inventor, who has already racked up millions of fans on YouTube. So to my mind it’s a great partnership.

"We’re looking to make quick, shareable content that lands a simple message and directs people to more information. Who wouldn’t want to spare 20 seconds to watch a guy ride the world’s fastest mobility scooter?"

Caseby, former managing editor of both The Sunday Times and The Sun, was appointed director of comms at DWP earlier this year. He replaced John Shield, who left the government department to take the role of director of comms at the BBC.

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