Barnet hires PR chief as recycling hits the headlines

The London Borough of Barnet Council has appointed a PR chief at a time when it is hitting the headlines for introducing compulsory recycling.

Currently comms manager at Fingal County Council in Ireland, Emer Coleman replaces Gail Scott-Spicer, who left last April to join the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations as deputy CEO.

Coleman joins as comms manager on 1 February.

Barnet has been criticised for threatening fines as part of its compulsory recycling scheme, but the programme has also been hailed as innovative, said acting comms chief and Tribal MPC assistant director Oliver Berman.

Barnet’s recycling rate in October 2004 was 21 per cent and the Government’s target is for councils to recycle 30 per cent of their waste by 2006. When compulsory recycling was piloted last year, the recycling rates increased dramatically, according to the council. If the programme is a success, it is likely to be imitated across other London boroughs.

Scott-Spicer was initially replaced, on an interim basis, by PRO John Seekings, who joined The London Borough of Haringey last August as head of media (PRWeek, 13 August 2004).

Barnet drafted in Tribal MPC to provide interim management in August and to implement a comms strategy.

Berman said: ‘Emer will be signing up to a corporate communications strategy that we have devised with targets (of achievement) for media relations and communications across the organisation, both internal and external.’

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