Stopard takes on Essex comms job

Essex County Council has enlisted East Hertfordshire District Council executive director Rachel Stopard to the newly created role of director of external relations and partnerships.

The post addresses the growing local government desire for working partnerships. It has been created ahead of a new wave of local area agreements in Essex, which will see functions such as road maintenance delegated to district councils.

Stopard joins Essex, one of the biggest local authorities in the country, in early November, leaving one of the two top management posts at East Herts vacant.

For three years she has been responsible for comms, business support, customer services, human resources, planning, housing, council tax and benefits.

'There are broad issues to deal with at Essex, such as the reputation of the county, particularly in the face of stereotypes. Essex has a diverse community with a lot to offer,' Stopard told PRWeek.

Her post at Essex is one of eight new director positions created as part of a council-wide restructure to move services into dedicated business units.

Stopard's responsibilities will include strategic planning around council functions, including stakeholder relations, design, marketing and internal and external comms. Her team has yet to be brought together, but will number around 50 staff.

Issues that Stopard can expect to deal with include the proposed second runway at Stansted Airport and plans to build 100,000 homes in the county by 2021.

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