Public Sector: Integrated agency to target public sector

Public sector consultancy Renaissance PR and multimedia production company Channel 2020 have merged to create a new agency that will target the public sector.

The company, Verve Communications, launched today (1 April). It has also hired former Birmingham City Council head of comms Myra Benson as an associate director, while former Newham Council deputy head of comms Kate Pierce and former Hammersmith & Fulham comms director Carol Todd - both also independent consultants - will work with Verve as associates.

The combined company has a staff of 17 under MD Lorraine Langham, one of three Renaissance directors alongside John Walker and Tony O'Regan.

Channel 2020 directors Louise Smith and Rob Potter join the combined board.

There will be no redundancies.

'We've known Myra for years,' said Langham. 'She will work in partnership with us as an associate. She is helping us develop a multimedia training product for councillors. It will be marketed in advance of the general election, called Member Development Opportunities. But we hope she will keep working with us in future.'

Benson has been an independent consultant since last October, having left Birmingham Council last year (PRWeek, 4 June 2004).

'I hope we are pulling together a pretty formidable team with a strategy that is hard to beat,' said Langham.

Verve will target Renaissance's market of public sector bodies, the private companies that service them and voluntary organisations. Renaissance clients include most London borough councils, public sector recruitment firm Rockpools, online job advertiser and women's housing charity Eaves.

Channel 2020, which offers design facilities and an in-house video editing suite, has worked for clients such as Virgin Trains, Jim Beam and British Airways.

Langham said the merger had sprung out of the two companies working together.

'We had contracted with Channel 2020 on and off over the years,' she added.

She said Verve would be able to compete for bigger contracts: 'We can give clients a better deal. We will offer strategy and delivery under one umbrella, providing economies of scale.'

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