News in brief

BIRMINGHAM Birmingham City Council members have delayed appointing a new head of comms until after the 10 June elections. The post, occupied previously by Myra Benson, remains vacant after the council’s appointments panel, which met last week, failed to select one of the shortlisted candidates. The job involves overseeing a comms department with more than 30 staff.

DORSET: Dorset County Council’s new website,, has been ranked as one of the 20 busiest local government websites by internet research company Hitwise. The council’s own research showed that 79 per cent of users felt the site was good or excellent.

HEALTH: Department for Health head of comms Sian Jarvis said last week that stakeholder participation in comms and aligning your message with the behaviour of your staff were the two crucial elements in the future of PR. Jarvis was the main speaker at Chime Communications’s ‘The Future of Communications’ event.

AWARDS: The deadline for entries to the IPR Local Government Group’s annual excellence awards is 21 June. The winners will be announced at the annual conference in Canterbury, scheduled for 9-11 September.

NIGERIA: Representatives from the Nigerian Government visited Newcastle and Gateshead last week to learn about public relations campaigns run by two local authorities and by the Newcastle and Gateshead Initiative. The visit, organised by the IPR, looked at how campaigns have resulted in greater awareness of the area and supported better investment and visitor numbers.

APPOINTMENT: Full-service communications agency Merlin Marketing and Public Relations has been awarded the contract for event management support to the Carbon Trust in Wales. The Carbon Trust works with UK businesses and the public sector to reduce carbon emissions. The Carbon Trust exists to create practical, business-focused solutions to help capture the commercial opportunities of low-carbon technologies.

EVENT: Surrey County Council’s communications team exhibited at one the county’s largest annual events when it spent the weekend at the Surrey County Show. Visitors were able to surf the internet for free at the council’s stands.

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