Shearman oversees three press officers and three graphic designers, joining from the General Social Care Council where she was corporate communications manager leading a team of four press officers.
Prior to the Care Council, she was head of news at Hampshire County Council.
Shearman takes the reins at the department as the unitary authority prepares for the Audit Commission’s inspection in November.
The council hopes the inspection will lead to a ‘fair’ rating, the next step up from the authority’s current ‘weak’ grading.
Shearman said: ‘In 2002 the council was classed as failing; last year, when we had a change of administration from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats, it was classified as weak and described as having “potential for improvement”.’
Reporting to chief executive Richard Painter, Shearman is working on developing the council’s biannual resident’s magazine Bay View into a ten-issues-a-year publication, which will be produced in association with local newspaper company the Herald Express Group.
‘It will manage the production and distribution and we will write the magazine. In return, Herald will keep the ad revenue while we will save £14,000 per year,’ said Shearman.
The comms team has also just launched an internal newsletter, which builds on the council’s internal email bulletins.
While Appleton formally left the post in June to retrain as a photographer, the post had been vacant since November last year because Appleton had taken long-term sick leave.