PUBLIC SECT0R: Transport for London looks internally as merger stalls

Transport for London has abandoned its external search for a permanent head of comms for congestion charges, just two months before the controversial scheme goes live.

The search, launched following the departure of the last permanent postholder Donald Neame earlier this year, has been abandoned with TfL head of news Dean Fell confirming that the organisation is now only looking internally to fill the post.

Front runners had included London Borough of Camden head of press and PR Steve Gladwin (PRWeek, 27 September), who confirmed he is staying at the council.

The failure to fill the street management head of comms post comes as plans to merge TfL with London Underground continue to stall over the mayor Ken Livingstone's row with the Government over PPP of the tube.

Referring to the future structure Fell, overseeing PR for street management on an interim basis, said: 'The waters are muddied at the moment.'

It is understood that if the merger goes ahead Fell may gain a larger remit as head of group media relations.

At Camden, Gladwin is likely to be offered an expanded role within a restructured comms department in January. It is thought his new remit will include added responsibility for external comms, public affairs and publications.

There are also plans at Camden Council for the core press team to move under the control of Dennis Skinner, assistant chief executive of the council's Policy Partnerships team. Other comms roles will be decentralised, to counteract the perception of a lack of buy-in from departments such as housing and environment.

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