PUBLIC SECTOR: Liverpool council bids to boost international links

Liverpool City Council has upgraded its most senior PR role in a bid to better promote the city to a global audience.

According to a report agreed by the council's executive board, the current PR chief role - head of news - will be scrapped and replaced with the newly created position of assistant executive director of media. Recruitment for this post will take place later this year.

The postholder will head the seven-strong news centre but will have added responsibility in increasing public affairs work and developing stronger international links.

This global role is seen as especially important as the city bids to become the European Capital of Culture for 2008.

The report says the role has been created because, 'as part of the positioning agenda of the city, the area of international links has been viewed as critical. However, it is fair to say that the progress the city had hoped has not been achieved.'

The PR chief will also have a direct reporting line to the chief executive, David Henshaw, who recommended the post's creation to executive board members.

This is the latest change to structure of the council's PR department.

Following a critical review, the PR and comms services department was scrapped last year.

It was replaced with two separate departments: the news centre, headed by head of news Matt Finnegan, and a marketing services department, which also includes the graphics team.

Both teams sit in the central service directorate, headed by David McElhinney.

The report says of the change in department structure: 'The media agenda had suffered from a lack of clear strategic focus, effective management direction and in the influence necessary to raise the profile of the city to Premier League status.'

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