Hudson takes role at Constitutional Affairs

The Department for Constitutional Affairs has recruited the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) top PRO Lucian Hudson as its director of communications.

Hudson joins at the end of July, just a year after the department was created to replace the Lord Chancellor’s Department and carry out widespread reform of the justice system.

He said a priority was to improve the way the department communicates with stakeholders within the justice system as well as other Government departments. This is in line with the findings of last year’s Government communications review, under Guardian Media Group chief executive Bob Phillis, which said communications needed to be more strategic and more responsive to service users.

Hudson, who is the first post-Phillis departmental communications director appointment, said: ‘It’s a big job as I join at a time of great change within the department. A lot of good work has already gone on and I want to build on that to ensure that we are not just communicating with the right people but are targeting them in the right way.’

Key areas of change that Hudson will oversee include communications surrounding next year’s creation of a unified court service, to replace the current court service and independent magistrates committees.

Internal communications is also a priority as the staff level is set to rise to 22,000 from its present level of 12,000 over the next year.

It is understood that seven of a nine-strong shortlist for the new role were from the private sector. Among the interview panel was Howell James, the newly appointed permanent secretary for Government communications, a role that Hudson had also applied for.

Hudson joined Defra three years ago, at the height of the foot-and-mouth crisis, and was subsequently involved in Government attempts to improve communications with the farming sector.

In his new role, Hudson leads a 30-strong team and has a £2m budget. He replaces Allan Percival who has retired.

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