Public Sector: Tower Hamlets rejigs comms for Olympics

Tower Hamlets Council has called in Verve Communications to make its comms more 'inclusive' and get residents to buy in to its status as one of the host boroughs for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Verve won a £250,000 15-month contract, replacing Tribal MPC as the east London borough's external PR agency.

'A big issue for our communications is to ensure that the support of local people for holding the Olympics in London continues,' said Tower Hamlets assistant CEO Sara Williams.

'We need them to understand what's going on and feel informed and involved, and ensure there continues to be a positive feeling about the Games serving as a catalyst for community coherence and regeneration.'

She added that part of the strategy was to try and get messages about the council's work and services aired on local independent radio stations and cable TV channels serving ethnic minority communities.

These include Bangla TV - Bangladeshis account for more than a third of the borough's 200,000-strong population.

The council's seven-strong comms team will be run by Donald Neame, who is to leave the Teacher Training Agency after two years as head of corporate comms. He will be employed by Verve as a consultant and seconded to Tower Hamlets.

Neame takes over from Duncan Stroud, interim head of communications, who joined Tower Hamlets earlier this year to conduct a review of its PR operation (PRWeek, 21 January).

Neame will have responsibility for all of Tower Hamlets' internal and external comms, the council's website and publications. Verve MD Lorraine Langham will lead the account when the agency takes over from Tribal MPC at the end of the month.

Langham will provide strategic advice to help ensure the council's comms channels are co-ordinated with those of services such as police and healthcare.

She said such co-ordination was necessary during incidents such as last week's bombings.

Verve won the account after a four-way pitch. Tribal MPC was invited to repitch.

Tribal MPC rebranded at the beginning of this month as Geronimo PR as its parent firm merged its triumvirate of agencies under a single brand (PRWeek, 1 July).

Charlie Whelan, p16.

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