London Assembly in review ahead of ‘extra powers’

The London Assembly has appointed management specialist Jim Chrystie to review its comms team as Mayor Ken Livingstone bids for more power in the capital.

Chrystie has taken up the interim post of head of media relations, replacing Edward Welsh, who joined the Local Government Association as media and campaigns programme director in July (PRWeek, 20 May). He leads – and will be reviewing – a team of three.

Livingstone has asked the Government to devolve greater power to the assembly with regards to economic development issues and the build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is due to start a period of consultation with affected parties, including Livingstone, which will begin with the publication of a consultation document within the month.

Part of the Mayor's controversial plans will focus on education, with Livingstone asking for control of all further education in London. His proposals include merging the capital's five Learning Skills Councils and assuming responsibility for the single body. He also wants greater power over planning.

'The Mayor has put in for extra powers and this is a time of potential change,' said Chrystie. 'In the light of a review of the Greater London Authority, I will look at what changes need to be made [to the comms team].'

It is believed that the team will take on additional duties such as marketing and events, moving away from the traditional press office format.

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