PUBLIC SECTOR: Welham quits Reading for Sheffield City Council post

Reading Borough Council PR chief Carl Welham is set to be confirmed next week as the new head of marketing and communications at Sheffield City Council.

Local authority PR stalwart Welham, who is also chairman of the IPR's local government group, is set to take up the role in early July, when he has served a three-month notice period in Reading.

The role has been vacant since January, when former head of comms Rachel Rees left Sheffield to return to the charities sector as fundraising and communications director for the Methodist Housing Association Care Group.

The addition of the term marketing to the Sheffield job's title does not mean the post has additional responsibilities, but it reflects an increased emphasis on the marketing of the city to visitors and investors, according to corporate media manager Simon Hope.

Welham's new post will see him take control of 76 staff, covering corporate media relations, internal comms, design and marketing.

It also includes responsibility for Sheffield's First Point project.

This is a customer service drop-in centre for local residents to act as the first point of contact between citizens and the local authority.

It is unusual for the top PRO in a council to have responsibility for customer services, but that has been the case at Sheffield since the creation of First Point in 2000.

Since Rees's departure, head of marketing Jane Edwards has been acting in the communications role. She will continue to do so until July, but will report to Welham when he arrives in Yorkshire.

Welham has spent almost three years at Reading, after athree-year stint as corporate affairs manager at Nottingham City Council. In all, he has nine years experience in local government PR.

In his new post, Welham will report to council CEO Bob Kerslake.

- Leader, p8.

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