Public Sector: LGA enlists Welsh to lead image overhaul

The Local Government Association (LGA) has appointed London Assembly head of media relations Edward Welsh to the newly created post of media and campaigns programme director.

Welsh joins the LGA in July as it prepares a five-year drive to overhaul the image of local government. He will lead the campaign, which is due to kick off at the LGA's annual conference in Harrogate in July.

Welsh will work closely with the project's steering team, currently led by MORI research director Ben Page.

The project was originally intended to create a national brand for local government, but plans have been threatened by lack of buy-in from some councils (PRWeek, 15 April).

'This project is about getting communities to understand what their council can do for them, and having a relationship of transparency on both sides,' said director of strategy Oona Muirhead.

Welsh's post was created as one of a number of recommendations made by Tribal MPC, which audited LGA's comms function last December (PRWeek, 3 December 2004).

The audit also recommended boosting the size and responsibilities of the comms function.

Welsh started his career on the Grimsby Evening Telegraph in 1984. He later joined The Sunday Times and freelanced for a variety of newspapers, including The Guardian, The Observer and the Daily Express. In 1997 he joined The Times.

In 2002 Welsh was appointed to the Greater London Authority where he helped to establish the London Assembly.

During this time, he worked on the launch of the Commission on London Governance, a joint project between the assembly and the Association of London Government, to examine how the capital's service delivery could be improved.

Welsh will report to Muirhead, who took the position left vacant by director of comms and strategy Phil Swann in April.

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