PUBLIC SECTOR: Camden brings in Lambeth comms chief to head up PR

The London Borough of Camden – which earlier this year disbanded its corporate communications function – has appointed Lambeth council comms head Emma Marinos to lead its PR.

Marinos joins next month as head of press and external relations, a role with less status and scope than that filled by the council’s previous most senior PRO, assistant chief executive Deirdre Colledge.

Colledge, who left last year, oversaw around 30 corporate comms staff, covering press office, design, web, publications, the film unit and marketing.

Her role and the corporate communications team were then scrapped in a restructure, which leaves Marinos leading only press, publications and external affairs staff who handle lobbying. Also, she reports into the policy and partnership department under assistant chief executive Dennis Skinner.

All the other areas have been dispersed among other departments: marketing and the film unit to the leisure department, design staff to the borough solicitors and business services group, web staff to financial services, and advertising and internal comms to personnel.

Skinner said the restructure was to make more departments involved in communications and to cut costs.

He estimated £400,000 has been saved, partly through the axing of Colledge’s post, as well as those of two PROs and one print and design role.

He said: ‘This does not mean a diminishing role for communications – it’s the opposite. We are giving it an even higher profile by saying that the whole council needs to be engaged in communications.’

However, a report from the chief executive’s office late last year conceded that the break-up of corporate communications was unpopular among PROs.

Previously head of communications for environment at Lambeth, Marinos was promoted to acting head of communications and marketing last year. Her post was confirmed this year and Lambeth is now looking to replace her.

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