Public sector news in brief

LGA: The Local Government Association (LGA) communications review, carried out by Tribal MPC, has concluded that members’ responses to press office queries slows down its operation.

It has also ruled that public affairs officers should help policy officers become lobbyists and get involved in policy projects from conception. Tribal said the press team should be expanded. MD Marina Pirotta told PRWeek: ‘It is a good team, but this review is about getting it to the next level.’

HOME OFFICE: The Home Office has brought in Grayling to promote its involvement in ‘The Year of the Volunteer’. The themed year for 2005 was pioneered by Community Service Volunteers and Volunteering England. The initiative aims to boost awareness of voluntary work and its benefits to communities.

FOI ACT: The Association of Healthcare Communicators (AHC) has launched a guide for its members on the Freedom of Information Act that came into force at the beginning of the year. ‘Opening Up’ was written by owners of www.freedomofinformation.co.uk on behalf of the AHC. It has been sent to more than 400 AHC members, who are all NHS comms staff. The booklet contains chapters on the NHS’s FOI obligations, the act’s exemptions and how to handle the likely PR challenges.

DfES: Government initiative Partnerships for Schools (PfS) has added Republic, MBD and Beyond Communications to its roster. The Department for Education and Skills- funded body now has a total of five agencies on its roster, including Geronimo Public Relations and Kinross & Render (PRWeek, 14 January). PfS is supporting the DfES’s multi-billion-pound investment scheme to rebuild or modernise every school in the UK over the next 15 years.

WRAP: Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is on the hunt for a home composting campaign manager. Reporting to head of home composting Gary Hilder, the recruit will replace Fridey Cordingley, who has taken up the role of national campaign account manager. WRAP wants to divert 400 tonnes of garden and kitchen waste from landfill sites every year by encouraging people to use home composting bins. WRAP is working with 40 local authorities on the campaign.

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