Sainsbury's review of PA looks at possible merger

Supermarket giant Sainsbury's is reviewing its public affairs function.

Options that are currently being considered include merging the six-strong public affairs team with staff handling corporate social responsibility and charity link-ups.

According to director of communications Jan Shawe, who is overseeing the review: 'It would seem that they go together naturally.'

The review is set to conclude next month. Shawe stressed though that no firm decision had yet been taken on the final structure.

Also being considered is integration of the PA with the property PR function, whose duties include liaising with planning authorities.

The review leaves a question mark over the head of PA role, which is currently held by Tim Fallon.

Shawe, who heads a 35-strong communications department, said that as the review had yet to be included it was impossible to say whether the role would continue to exist.

She added that the review was not looking at external agency support, which is currently handled by Lexington Communications.

Shawe's look at PA is her latest review of communications since joining three years ago. In 2001 the communications function was streamlined to merge the consumer PR and corporate press office units.

This saw the media facing elements of consumer affairs falling under the remit of the media centre (PRWeek, 10 October 2001).

Fallon joined Sainsbury's two years ago from Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, where he was a director. He replaced Roger Saoul, who had been with the firm for six years (PRWeek, 27 April 2001).

Sainsbury's is the UK's second largest food retailer, after Tesco. There are 460 stores in the Sainsbury's supermarket chain.

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