Coventry creates a PR role to boost morale

Coventry City Council has created its first PR role with an internal comms remit to shore up flagging staff morale, following its ‘poor’ rating in last year’s Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA).

This week it has been confirmed that Birmingham City Council corporate comms manager Fran Collingham will take up the newly created senior PR post of comms and media relations manager, with a remit to improve morale.

Coventry head of corporate policy Roger Hughes, to whom she reports, said: ‘We’re seeking to develop our external but also improve our internal comms.’

‘It’s about staff morale and how they achieve an understanding of the council’s aims, and then work together to achieve them.’

In her new role, Collingham will manage the comms team and work closely with council CEO Stella Manzie.

Collingham joined Birmingham City Council (BCC) in March 2000 as publications manager before being promoted to the head of corp comms post this year. As publications manager she oversaw BCC’s fortnightly newspaper The Birmingham Voice and its employee magazine Inner Voice.

This year she oversaw the launch of BCC’s intranet.

Part of her remit in the new post will be to develop Coventry’s e-government capabilities.

This is likely to include a revamp of its online services, said Collingham. ‘Employee issues and staff morale are big issues at Coventry,’ she added.

The Audit Commission, in its CPA report, said customer satisfaction with Coventry City Council was ‘low’.

In its assessment of how the council is run, the Commission wrote: ‘Education is relatively strong while others, such as social care and housing benefits, are poor or failing. Customer satisfaction is low… the council has put measures in place to improve services but these have not yet made a real difference.’

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