Public Sector: South Tyneside appoints Jones

South Tyneside Council has hired Darlington Borough Council head of communications Steve Jones to fill the newly created position of head of corporate comms.

Jones, who has been head of comms at Darlington since 1995, takes up the most senior comms post at the council, leading an overall team of 23, in a month’s time.

He will report to executive director of corporate development David Slater.

The press office, which has been run by comms manager Richard Garnett and has four staff, will be taken over by Jones. Garnett, who is to leave within weeks, has – until now – held the council’s most senior comms post.

Jones’s brief also covers the four-strong marketing team, the six-strong web unit and the print team.

Central to Jones’s brief is to handle comms around the regeneration work the council is doing, along with ongoing attempts to improve its rating with the Audit Commission. It currently holds a ‘fair’ comprehensive performance rating but hopes to boost that to an ‘excellent’ assessment.

Jones told PRWeek: ‘The council members and management want an excellent rating. My brief is to see an all-round improvement in communications.’

One proposal Jones is looking at is turning the council’s quarterly magazine On View monthly and thinking of ways to improve the way residents communicate with the council through the magazine.

He said: ‘Residents want to know what is going on and be part of decision-making.’

Darlington will launch a hunt for a replacement for Jones next week.

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