PUBLIC SECT0R: East Riding appoints Lamb to woo residents and press

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has hired Canterbury City Council's head of policy and communications Carol Lamb to lead its PR.

Lamb will join in July in a role previously held by Simon Taylor, who quit earlier this year to set up his own consultancy (PRWeek, 24 January).

Despite winning a number of awards last year, including the IPR local government group's top award of Communicators of the Year, the council suffers from worringly low residents' satisfaction levels, Lamb said.

The reputation of the council among residents hit an all-time low last year when residents marched through Beverly in protest over CEO Daryl Stephenson's pay rise.

Lamb said: 'What has emerged from surveys of residents is that the (council's) reputation is not as high as it should be, considering the awards it has won. That is something I will be looking into.'

She suggests one way its reputation could be bolstered is to try and improve relationships with the local press: 'Communications has been very marketing led... what the council is looking at now is using the softer relationship skills.'

Relationships between the council and local journalists came under strain last year, when Taylor launched a failed attempt through the Press Complaints Commission to stop the Bridlington Free Press from referring to him as a 'spin doctor' and revealing details of his salary (PRWeek, 18 October).

Lamb, who has held senior PR roles in both the private and public sectors, is also expected to carry on a five-year project to create a self-funding communications department by 2004.

At East Riding, Lamb leads a 19-strong team and reports to director of personnel Harry Skelton, who will be replaced by Eric Heath when he retires this year.

It is understood Canterbury is to carry out a review of Lamb's role, which oversees 38 staff handling tourism, policy and comms teams.

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