Ansari will oversee the work of 15 staff, including departmental communications managers covering social services, housing and environment, as well as a central communications team that covers media relations, website, design and consultation.
She joins Lambeth from the Food Standards Agency, where she was a senior PRO.
Ansari had previously held comms roles at both the Consumers’ Association and the Health Education Authority. However, it was as head of campaigns at the CRE during the 1990s that she became most widely known within the PR industry.
While at the CRE she launched the Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football campaign, which is still running.
She confirmed that one of her priorities is to develop a communications strategy for the council.
Currently there are no strategies for overall communications or for external media relations, although a strategy for internal communications has been devised.
Work on the strategy will start this month, with Ansari confirming that one campaign she would like to see emulated is the recent push to combat crack cocaine dealers, called Crack Out (PRWeek, 23 May).
The strategy is seen as a vital part of a recovery plan for all services, devised in response to last year’s critical Comprehensive Performance Assessment Report by the Audit Commission, which rated the council as ‘poor’.
Key audiences for the strategy are senior management, councillors, staff, trade unions, residents, the Audit Commission and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Ansari, who reports to assistant CEO Chris Lee, replaces Emma Marinos, who joined the London Borough of Camden (PRWeek, 16 May).