York on the hunt for head of marcoms amid PR revamp

City of York Council has started a recruitment drive for its top PR job, along with three other key posts. The successful candidate will replace former head of marketing and communications Helen Edwards, who left to become head of comms for Leeds City Council in September (PRWeek, 5 September).

The incoming PR chief will report to council deputy chief executive Laura McGillivray and will take over from TaylorSyms Marketing and Public Relations director Simon Taylor, who has been the 19-strong comms team’s interim manager at the council since Edwards’ departure.

‘The head of marketing and communications job description will remain the same,’ said Taylor. ‘I have been reviewing the comms department’s operations, building on the very good work started by Helen. It’s about streamlining existing processes, so that the right people in the right place deliver the right service at the right time.’

He said the process would not involve any redundancies, and would begin with staff consultations next week.

TaylorSyms has worked with Milton Keynes and North East Lincolnshire councils to improve their communications services. Taylor said that as head of comms and PR at East Riding of Yorkshire Council from September 2000 to early 2003, he introduced private-sector principles to the comms team’s services, making activities self-financing and bolstering planning. He said he aimed to introduce similar principles to operations at York in time for the new head’s appointment, expected within three months.

The other posts to be filled are head of performance improvement and head of community planning and partnership. The former has been vacant since the Liberal Democrats took control of the council in May, and the latter has been empty for around two weeks. The remaining position is head of strategic finance, vacant since July.

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